A new social care team based at A&E is helping ease the pressure on hospital services, new figures reveal.
In September last year, Dudley Council set up a new emergency response team to work in the accident and emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital.
It is one of a raft of measures introduced by the council since the government awarded it £13.9million as part of the national £2billion Improved Better Care Fund last year.
The team works closely with hospital staff to identify people who arrive at A&E, but are actually in need of urgent social care support rather that medical attention.
It is at this point the team steps in and works alongside hospital staff to assess the needs of individuals and put the necessary social care measures in place.
This could be anything from organising a package of care or assisted technology in the home or offering guidance on self-care.
No one wants to be in hospital for longer than necessary and this service helps people get back to where they feel safe and able to recover best – at home.
By taking this early action and avoiding a stay in hospital, demand on hospital services is being reduced and this helps the NHS maintain capacity to carry out planned operations on time and cope in times of crises.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for adult social care, said:
Often when older people arrive at A&E, they think it is medical attention they need, but in many cases they are more in need of social care support.
With staff now based at the hospital and on the front line, they can step in to offer support and guidance and help people to return home and avoid an unnecessary and unwanted stay in hospital.
This funding has allowed us to explore new ideas at a time when demand for services is increasing as well as the complexity of needs. We’ve spent time designing services that will have the greatest impact and I’m pleased to see positive results.
So far, figures show that the team has supported 786 people, 596 of whom have returned home and 106 have been transferred to a short-term residential home.
In total 86 percent of those people seen by the team have not been admitted to hospital as a result.