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Innovative project that’s helping to reduce admissions at King’s Mill Hospital is first of its kind in the area

20th October 2017

Innovative project that’s helping to reduce admissions at King’s Mill Hospital is first of its kind in the area

An innovative new system that is the first of its kind in the East Midlands is helping King’s Mill Hospital to cut the number of unnecessary admissions and get elderly and vulnerable patients back home quickly.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service (NHIS) and Nottinghamshire County Council have worked closely together to develop the communication system that allows staff working in the Emergency Department at King’s Mill Hospital to have access to some key aspects of information held on Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care electronic records, once the patient has consented to information being shared.

A secure connection between Sherwood Forest Hospitals and Nottinghamshire County Council enables Emergency Department staff to see whether a social care package is in place for a patient so that they can make a more informed decision about whether the patient can be sent home safely, whatever the time of day, knowing that the right care and support is in place at home.

Before having this connection, staff had to rely on asking a social care worker to look up the person on the social care system. This was much more time-consuming and was not possible at certain times of day (i.e. from 5pm to 8am).

Specialist Discharge Nurse at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Debbie Thompson, said: “This new system has made decision making when it comes to discharging patients a much quicker process, especially out of hours, as we know that vulnerable or elderly patients will have the support that they need already in place when they return home.

“We know how important it is that patients, in particular elderly and vulnerable patients, can return to their own home as quickly as possible rather than having to be admitted to hospital unnecessarily – one week of reduced mobility can result in a 10% to 20% reduction in muscle mass, meaning that elderly patients can go from independent to dependent just by spending a week in hospital.”

“This new system helps us to ensure that we can deliver the care that the patient needs in a timely way and get them back in their home and independent.”

If a care package is in place, contact details of the care provider are displayed allowing the clinician to contact the service provider directly. This allows a decision to be made more speedily, and in most cases without the need to contact onsite Social Care team.

Claire Atkinson, Team Manager at the Council’s Hospital Assessment Team covering Mansfield, said: “This system is allowing health professionals working in the Emergency Department to make informed decisions on whether there is care and support at home for vulnerable people they see to help reduce unnecessary admissions.”

“It will also highlight if the County Council has any safeguarding concerns relating to an individual so health professionals can work with social workers to ensure that it is safe to discharge the person home."

Mary Whetstone, Business Change and Project Manager at the Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service said: “This was a clinically lead project that has supported Emergency Department staff to make appropriate decisions about whether it is safe to discharge a patient out of hours.  It has reduced the amount of time spent discussing ‘routine’ patients with the Social Care team in Emergency Department, allowing them to focus on the more complex cases.”


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