£3.6 million to expand services.
A further £3.6 million is being made available to support the expansion of Hospital at Home services, with the aim of doubling current capacity by the end of 2022
The purpose of the service is to reduce hospital admissions for elderly patients by providing treatments in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
The service enables people to receive treatments that would otherwise require them to be admitted to hospital, such as an intravenous drip or oxygen supply. It also provides access to hospital tests under the care of a consultant in their own home.
Evidence shows that those benefitting from the service are more likely to avoid hospital or care home stays for up to six months after a period of acute illness. For older patients, it means being able to stay at home longer without losing their independence and this has contributed to overall improvements in patient satisfaction. It also helps alleviate pressure on hospital beds.
The Scottish Government’s total investment in these services is now £8.1 million since 2020.
As well as Hospital at Home, the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Treatment scheme and Respiratory Community Response Teams now offer more than 600 virtual beds to treat patients for conditions that would traditionally need hospitalisation, an increase of more than a third from 440 virtual beds at the start of January 2022.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the further funding on a visit to NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home service.
“Hospital at Home is one of the many ways we are providing more care in the community and reducing pressure on hospitals. From the success of the scheme so far, we can see that there is a real benefit to treating people at home where possible.
“We know that frail patients tend to occupy hospital beds for a longer period of time and that is why we are expanding the scheme. In reducing the number of prolonged hospital stays, we will free up more hospital beds.
“With additional funding, all health boards can apply for money to either develop or expand their services with the aim of doubling the capacity of Hospital at Home by the end of the this year.”
Dr Sarah Henderson, Consultant Geriatrician for NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home Team, said:
“Developing this important service has enabled us to provide the same high standard of clinical care and treatment patients would receive in hospital without the need for them to leave their own home.
“We know from feedback how much local patients have valued being able to stay in familiar, comfortable surroundings without the anxiety and disruption often associated with an admission to hospital. This is also less stressful for family and friends who know that their loved one is getting all the medical care and attention they require at home.”
Helen Sammels from Alloa has been supported twice by the Hospital at Home team when she required treatment for a respiratory condition.
“I am sure I got better, quicker by being able to stay at home. It really made a difference being in my own surroundings, but I still got the care, services and tests I required. The Hospital at Home team were great, and I feel really grateful for all the treatment and support they provided.
“I also have a little dog and I didn’t want to leave her so being able to stay at home with her was very important to me and fortunately with the support of the Hospital at Home team I was able to do this.”
Funding is available to all health boards, and their health and social care partnerships to support the development of new services, or to expand the capacity of existing services, with the key aim of doubling the current capacity by December 2022.
There are currently 20 partnerships with an active Hospital at Home service, with an estimated capacity of 275 virtual beds.
In addition to Hospital at Home, the Scottish Government is increasing virtual bed capacity through the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Treatment scheme and Respiratory Community Response Teams, both of which are delivering at home care.
This increase in virtual bed capacity is part of a longer term ambition to deliver specialist acute care in a person’s own home achieving comparable outcomes to a hospital stay.
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