New Hospital at Home Service Improves Outcomes for Older People

16th May 2023
Hospital at Home Team with Ushagowri Mavuri, Consultant in Elderly Medicine (seated front right)

The South Eastern HSC Trust has launched a new service called ‘Hospital at Home’ in the Ards and North Down area This unique service, which is led by a Consultant Geriatrician, provides hospital level care to frail and older people living in the community and will work in partnership with existing community services.

Evidence demonstrates that outcomes for older people are improved when they are managed by ‘Hospital at Home’ type services and they reduce the need for social care packages upon discharge. The multidisciplinary team operating the service contains a range of medical, nursing, pharmacy and allied health professionals, with clinical leadership from Consultant Geriatricians. The team will deliver short term targeted interventions that will provide a level of acute hospital care in the patient’s own home or care home setting between 8.00am – 11.00pm, 7 days per week.

Local man George Lowry who recently availed of the new service commented, “I would recommend ‘Hospital at Home’ to anybody. I was able to stay at home with my wife and sleep in my own bed which was less disruptive than being in hospital. The staff were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble for them, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Explaining the benefits of the new service, Consultant in Elderly Medicine, Ushagowri Mavuri explained, “This is a hospital service provided in the patients’ home where a multidisciplinary team provides a comprehensive assessment similar to patients admitted to hospital. Patients who are managed in the community would have a reduced length of stay, therefore it is a really cost effective service.”

Assistant Director of Primary and Integrated Care, Janice Colligan added, “The ’Hospital at Home’ service will allow older people the choice to remain in their own home and receive the same treatment, care and access to diagnostic tests that they would have in hospital. This service is led by a Consultant and a multidisciplinary team of staff and provides intensive hospital level care to people over the age of 65 years in their own home .

“We know that for many older people a hospital stay can lead to associated adverse health outcomes, including increased confusion, continence problems and reduced mobility with 35% of patients showing a functional decline on hospital discharge. The service will also mean that patients will not need to wait for long periods in Emergency Departments.

“This is a really exciting time for older people in the North Down area. The service will initially take referrals for patients in four GP practices in the North Down area and the Trust plans to gradually roll out this service across the South Eastern Trust area“

Referrals for new patients can be made by telephone, Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 2.00pm by telephoning (028) 9151 4333. Referrals will be accepted for acutely unwell older adults who potentially require acute hospital admission, they will be triaged by a member of the medical team and if deemed clinically appropriate the patient will be assessed within two hours.

Referrals to the service can also be made via a variety of services including; GP’s, Emergency Departments, Medical Assessment Units (MAU), Ambulatory Hubs, Professional teams, Care Homes and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) for patients from the following 4 GP practices who are trialling the service:

  1. Brook Street, Holywood
  2. Priory and Springhill, Bangor/Holywood
  3. Abbey Family Practice, Bangor
  4. Green Road Surgery, Conlig