District nursing team work with care homes to tackle health issues

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A pilot scheme to help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions from care homes in North Lincolnshire is proving a success.

Staff at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust have been working with five* care homes in the Scunthorpe area to tackle some of the key health issues residents face.

Assistant practitioners within the district nursing team have been providing education and support to care home staff and have been carrying out health assessments on all the residents to identify any potential problems.

The key health concerns affecting residents of care homes are urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, dehydration and falls. These are all conditions that may not be of an urgent nature, but can be very unpleasant and affect the quality of the people’s lives so proactive monitoring, swift action and intervention is needed.

Tina Sykes, head of nursing for community and therapy services, said: “By working with carers in the homes we are empowering them to spot the signs of these conditions early and we’re also educating them about the different types of help and support available to their residents. By providing this early intervention we can help keep people well in the community, avoiding the need for hospital admission.”

If a member of staff in a care home has a concern about a patient whose condition has changed, possibly due to a urine infection or perhaps a resident may be worried about a skin tear or bruise, they can call on the nurse or unscheduled care practitioner to be treated and reassured. The nurses and practitioners can also liaise with the patient’s GP if necessary and offer support and care to help them remain in their own home environment.

Staff in the five care homes have welcomed the additional support.

Jenny Campbell, manager at Carisbrooke Manor, said: “Knowing we can call the district nursing team anytime of the day is very helpful. We all work together and having full support is beneficial to our resident’s health and wellbeing and to our team of carers in the home.”

Mandy Preston, manager of the Balmoral House, said: “Since we started the pilot scheme we have seen the benefits not only for our residents but the staff, they feel more confident, gained knowledge and learned new skills.”

Two of the assistant practitioners working on the project, Tina Waring and Katie Weatherhogg, have recently been recognised for their efforts with an Andree Borret Award.

The monthly awards are held in memory of the late Andree Borrett, who was the lead for the podiatry and chronic wound service. Andree died at the age of 49 in 2010 after falling ill with a brain tumour. The awards were set up shortly after her death to recognise those individuals and teams working within community and therapy services at the Trust who go the extra mile in providing outstanding patient care.