NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned a city-wide telemedicine service connecting older peoples’ care home residents to healthcare professionals via video link, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Approximately 3,200 older people currently live in Liverpool’s care homes, many with complex or long-term health conditions, which can quickly deteriorate – particularly during the cold winter months.
The telemedicine platform provides care home teams with 24-hour access to multi-disciplinary clinicians who can provide assessment and re-assessment for residents if needed, via a telemedicine hub based at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in Yorkshire.
This means that care home staff can access help and advice as soon as a resident presents with a need, rather than resorting to calling an emergency ambulance for support out of hours.
The service, supplied by Immedicare, has already been rolled out in 55 older peoples’ care homes in Liverpool over the past 2 years to help support care home staff, to reduce pressures on frontline healthcare staff, and improve quality of life for care home residents.
The solution has also been introduced at three purpose-built Liverpool City Council intermediate care units across the city, and this winter will be added to two additional, newly built care home facilities. This will provide additional support to local health and social care services for winter 2019, as the NHS anticipates increased demand on services.
The technology has been deployed as part of the wider Liverpool Care Home Advanced Model of Provision, a joint strategy between Liverpool CCG, Liverpool City Council and the care home community.
Dr Fiona Ogden-Forde, a GP and governing body member at Liverpool CCG, said: “This telemedicine service is an important part of our care home offering in Liverpool, and has contributed to our ultimate goal of delivering the best possible care experience, closer to home for residents, families and care home staff.”
The telemedicine service was first introduced in Liverpool in 2017. The data from the early pilot phase demonstrated a 22% reduction in hospital admission rates from the participating care homes over a 10 month period.
But it’s not just about the numbers – the approach is leading to a better quality of life for individual care home residents too, by helping to avoid unnecessary hospital transfers and admissions.
Dr Fiona Ogden-Forde explains, “A hospital attendance or admission can be distressing for frail, elderly residents, and extremely disruptive to their ongoing care. It also creates additional pressure for the ambulance service and A&E, when services are already stretched.
“The telemedicine solution is supporting care home staff to manage the health of residents more proactively, allowing them to respond to any sudden decline in their health swiftly, and without always having to call an emergency ambulance.”
According to Immedicare, 60% all consultations via its hub do not require any onward referral to hospital, with 90% of patients being able to remain in their place of residence following a telemedicine consultation.