New NHS England Plans for ‘Enhanced Health in Care Homes’
NHS England have revealed their new plans to pair GP practices with residential care homes around the country. The news follows the publication of a report that found that the needs of care home residents are not being met or addressed sufficiently.
The EHCH Model
In order to enhance the care being offered to residents in care homes, GPs will conduct weekly rounds as part of a new model that is aiming to provide enhanced health in care homes (EHCH). The report recommends that every resident has a named GP, but there are some concerns as to whether there are enough GPs available to properly deliver high-quality enhanced care.
However, initial concerns have been somewhat alleviated as a pilot scheme for the model is currently being carried out NHS England, and the early results seem to be positive. There has been a reported reduction in falls and hospital admissions, as well as prescribing costs and ambulance conveyances. There is currently a plan in place to roll out the EHCH model nationally later in the year, which will directly benefit care homes in West Sussex as well as a number of other regions.
One of the main goals of the EHCH model is to simplify the delivery of care. It is thought that this model will help to ensure that the needs to each patient are thoroughly assessed, resulting in the successful and efficient implementation of a comprehensive care plan.
The weekly round undertaken by the GP has been identified as a crucial element when it comes to planning and reviewing the care needs for an individual. The patient’s named GP will be joined by the team from the care home, as well as any other individuals who form a key part of the care plan, such as pharmacists or specialist nurses. The weekly round should be thought of as a combination of a home visit and a hospital ward round, with care homes and their residents quickly seeing the benefits of this new initiative.
Some concern has been raised with regard to the pairing of care homes with particular GP surgeries, as the NHS has a commitment to patient choice. However, a spokesperson for NHS England has stated that each local area will have a level of discretion with regard to the provision of the services outlined in the report. They went on to reiterate that positive results have already emerged from the pilot scheme, easing pressures on other services and ensuring each patient receives high-quality care.
Ian Dodge, the National Director of Commissioning Strategy, has said that NHS England has seen interest in the model from residential care homes around the country, and they also believe that there is the infrastructure in place to efficiently roll out the scheme nationally.