More older people to be treated at home

Extra funding will reduce hospital stays.

An initiative to let more older people receive hospital quality care at home is to receive £1 million.

The funding in the draft Scottish Budget for 2020/21 will support the development of ‘Hospital at Home’ type services – which can treat patients with a wide range of conditions, such as pneumonia, COPD and pulmonary embolisms, or those recovering from falls.

Hospital at Home provides an alternative to traditional hospital admissions and was first implemented in Scotland by NHS Lanarkshire in 2011, with significant evidence to back its effectiveness and safety.

Ms Freeman said:

“The effects on older people of remaining in hospital too long are well documented – deconditioning, pressure sores and a loss of independence and self. That is why admission to hospital should only happen when the patient’s clinical need requires it – if that level of care and treatment can be provided at home, then we would like to provide it there

“I am keen to see all health and social care partnerships across Scotland commission sustainable, person centred, alternatives to traditional hospital care from our NHS. Services such as re-ablement, rapid response teams, enhanced Intermediate Care at home, virtual community wards, and Hospital at Home all have a vital part to play, alongside more traditional community based services.

“I am pleased that we are providing £1 million funding to enable more older people across Scotland to receive the same level of high quality medical attention in their own homes as they would in hospital – and helping keep them in a familiar environment among familiar faces.”

Keith Dean, a 71 year old from East Wemyss in Fife, has benefitted from the service. He said:

“I have been a patient of hospital at home for many years and I am grateful for the service. I needed intravenous antibiotics about twice a year, and before Hospital at Home I needed to stay in hospital for two weeks at a time.

“Now the nurses come into my own home and give me the medication. As you are at home and not in a hospital environment you’re not open to getting other infections so your recovery is much better.”

Hospital at Home is an acute hospital replacement service. While open to anyone who fits the clinical criteria, services currently primarily focus on over 75s.

Distribution of the £1 million funding is still to be decided. The principles that underpin the policy are outlined in Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s ‘Hospital at Home: Guiding principles for service development’.


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