New service launched to help patients get home sooner from hospital

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Health leaders are launching a new service where patients leave hospital sooner so that they can recover in the familiar environment of their own home.

The ‘Getting People Home’ service has been commissioned by the Milton Keynes health community. The service is funded jointly by NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, (MKUHFT) and there is partnership working with Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes Council, and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Community Health Services in Milton Keynes.

The new initiative is adopting a ‘discharge to assess’ approach, which is the touchstone of good practice across the country.

A wealth of evidence shows that patients make a better recovery if they leave hospital as soon as they are well enough to do so, provided they have the right support in place.

The fundamental principle of ‘discharge to assess’ is that patients are best supported in the most appropriate environment, for their ongoing needs.

If a person becomes unwell and requires an episode of treatment within an acute hospital, then they should only remain there while undergoing treatment that only an acute hospital setting can provide.

The new service enables patients who can be medically managed within their homes, or in a community care setting, to be discharged safely in a supported way, and have their ongoing health and social care assessments at the place they normally live. GPs, consultant geriatricians, the proactive elderly care team, the rapid assessment and intervention team, the reablement at home team, social care workers and Age UK are all working closely together to provide the best possible care for patients.

Patients are reporting high levels of satisfaction with the Getting People Home service. In a recent survey 100% said that they were comfortable having their assessments at home rather than hospital. Every patient who responded felt supported by their health and social care team and 87% felt that coming home earlier from hospital helped them to get better more quickly. The programme is expected to fully rollout this winter.

Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “We are delighted with the results of our ‘Getting People Home’ initiative which has enabled patients to be discharged sooner and make a swifter recovery. By introducing this service, we are also reducing the risks for patients who spend longer in hospital than is needed such as infection, increased confusion and reduced mobility.

“Helping people to leave hospital sooner also means that we can free up hospital beds for others who need them. The cost of excess bed days in Milton Keynes is approximately £2.8m against a plan of £2.2m. So, when the programme is fully rolled out later this year we could reasonably expect this cost to be significantly reduced.”

Lorna Payne, Divisional Director at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, which is providing some services for the programme, said: “This is an important and fantastic programme, which we will help people get better sooner and return to their own homes quicker.

“Our evidence is showing us this is helping patients recover more quickly because patients prefer to be at home.”