This week Stocks Hall Andrew Smith House were honoured to receive a visit by BBC Radio 4 and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group to be featured in the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard. New technology which is benefiting the lives of thousands of care home residents in East Lancashire came under national spotlight this week when the BBC came to see the ground-breaking work for itself.
Reporter Deborah Cohen, Producer with BBC’s Radio 4 programme, came to Pennine to find out more about the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard, in particular how the work is helping integration of care in care homes. She was also particularly interested in the “red bag” pilot and how telemedicine technology works in practice on the frontline.
BBC Radio 4 was looking for examples of good practice in integration and ideas that were working to improve care in care homes and between hospitals, care homes and GP practices and other services.
Funded by NHS England, the project breaks new ground in the way it provides expert clinical consultations for a range of conditions, such as chest infections, over a secure and high-quality video link. Known as telemedicine, the innovation mirrors the technology used by NASA to ensure the health and wellbeing of its astronauts, such as Tim Peake, as they orbit Earth.
Closer to home, its aim is to improve the health of older people by helping them to stay in the comfort of their own residence wherever possible – while making best use of GP and emergency facilities.
The initiative is already witnessing a reduction in the number of unnecessary hospital attendances, GP visits, and ambulance journeys.
Approaching 100 nursing and residential homes in East Lancashire are now linked directly to specialist nurses in the digital care hub at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in Steeton, near Keighley.
Retaining eye-to-eye contact with the patients and their carers throughout the remote consultation, the 20-strong hospital team provide round-the-clock diagnosis and expert opinion as and when it is needed 24/7. The team includes former paramedics as well as specialists in dementia. The initiative was hand-picked to be among the inaugural group of NHS England’s “vanguards”, tasked with exploring potential new models of care for the future.
The investment will accelerate the pace of change by supporting further expansion of the service across the county, and help spread the word about its achievements throughout the wider NHS. The East Lancashire-Yorkshire telemedicine service was also hailed by the Care Quality Commission as an area of “outstanding practice” when it inspected the £250,000 purpose-designed telemedicine hub last year, praising the “immediate access to expert opinion” provided.
Jayms Bell, Manager at Stocks Hall Andrew Smith was interviewed along with Mr Tony Becket, who lives at the Home, and his wife Margaret. Both Jayms and Mr Beckett gave their opinions on the telemedicine initiative and what benefits it has brought to the Home. Jayms comments, “Telemedicine is becoming a vital part of healthcare and has certainly provided people living at the Home with an important level of support and comfort. These models are the foundations for transformation across East Lancashire, we feel proud to be involved in this innovative pilot which has positively improved people’s experience of care.”
“What an honour it was to be involved in BBC Radio 4’s interviews featuring the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard. Providing person-centred, compassionate care is at the heart of what we do. Here at Stocks Hall Nursing & Care Group we have seen real evidence of the impact of improved quality of care. We look forward to working closely with East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group to further develop and improve Health Services in the local area