Our priority outcome: Improved support for care homes to enhance care to residents and their families
The Care Homes Project brings together partners in Lambeth to work collaboratively to improve quality and standards across all registered care homes in the Borough so that people have personalised and enabling care and the care home sector is stable and resilient.
Context and key challenges
In Lambeth there are 39 registered care homes accommodating 950 people. This includes provision to a diverse range of residents, including older people, people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and those with mental health support needs.
The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a national policy commitment to realise health organisations’ responsibilities towards people living in care homes across England. Requirements include setting up formal relationships between care homes and Primary Care Networks, with named clinical leads for every care home; and collaborative working between care homes, general practice, community health services and other NHS providers.
What we offer
The Alliance has supported a collaborative approach to enable multidisciplinary working between care homes, general practice and other parts of the NHS.
Lambeth Older People’s nursing homes
A new GP contract was established for all nine older people’s nursing homes in 2021 to promote consistent high quality personalised care. This contract has supported the delivery of initiatives such as remote monitoring of patients, onsite flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, and the use of information technology by nursing home staff for easier communication with the GPs and other parts of the NHS. The Alliance has facilitated engagement between general practice, hospital geriatricians and health and care commissioners to maximise benefit from this new model of working and to ensure that this serves as a platform for extended and more innovative multidisciplinary working around the needs of nursing home residents into the future.
Lambeth Learning Disabilities and Mental Health homes
A multidisciplinary working group has been established to support more joined up person-centred care to residents in registered care homes for people with learning disabilities or mental health support needs. The group includes GPs, mental health practitioners, specialist community teams and health and care commissioners. Weekly multidisciplinary meetings take place for each setting to discuss the individual needs of each resident.
Lambeth digital transformation in care homes
The Alliance has been bringing together partners to extend access to technology and improved patient information systems across all 39 registered care homes in Lambeth. Thirty-six of Lambeth’s care homes have completed a comprehensive structured assessment (the Data Security and Protection Toolkit) which can unlock access to technology such as NHS mail and patient record and reporting systems that will assist them in providing the best care for their residents. For example, giving them access to GP and other health and care records, enabling them to view test results, see immunisation records, check known allergies and view an individual’s urgent care plan or end of life care plan.
Through the Care Homes Project the Alliance has facilitated joint work with partners in Lambeth to take action to improve quality and standards across all registered care homes in the Borough.
Through the new nursing home GP contract, connections with primary care and acute hospitals have been strengthened, with a dedicated GP for each nursing home, supported by a multidisciplinary team approach. Input from specialist geriatricians in each of the older persons nursing homes has now been established as standard practice.
Through digital transformation programmes, we have supported improvements to the quality and safety of care, with real-time data integrated into information and record-keeping systems. New reporting software has been introduced in all nine nursing homes, facilitating remote access to care records from each nursing home. The implementation of NHS mail has allowed for a reduction in time spent on administrative tasks and has increased collaboration between hospitals on admissions and for appointments. Care homes have confirmed that communication with their GP is easier and faster, and the digital discharge summary process is more reliable. All of this ensures people receive the right care at the right time and the right people have access to the information they need.
Our next steps
We will continue to work collaboratively with registered care homes and identify further areas for development and improvement for all people living in nursing and care homes across the Borough. This will include training and support for staff and access to specialist advice. Our digital work with care homes will continue with the digitisation of social care records to ensure data is not only captured at the point of care but that it can also be appropriately and securely shared between care settings as well as across different NHS settings.
Preventing falls in care homes is an important aim for Enhanced Health in Care Homes. Alliance partners plan to work with care homes to improve falls prevention. This work will include piloting an app called ‘Safe Steps in Lambeth’. Safe Steps is a digital falls risk assessment tool, designed to reduce the number of falls in care homes. This tool allows care homes to proactively implement a review process whereby vulnerable residents can be identified, receive appropriate preventive care and thus reduce their risk of falling. Although the aim is about prevention rather than treatment, when a fall does occur, data is collected, providing insights and trends to help drive continuous improvement.