NHS bosses could nearly halve the number of elderly Brits rushed back into A&E by offering quick follow-up calls after discharge.
Experts claim the “simple” measure could save the health service tens of millions by helping OAPs stay well once they are at home.
Credit: Getty – Contributor
Research by Aston University shows over-65s given a call within a day of leaving hospital were 41 per cent less likely to be readmitted in the next month.
Medics claim they were able to resolve confusion around medication and or arrange much-needed home visits.
Around one in seven older patients end up back in A&E within 28 days of discharge, with most returning within 72 hours.
Each night in a ward bed costs the NHS around £313 per sick Brit.
There were 865,000 emergency readmissions to English hospitals in 2017-18 – up more than a fifth in four years.
Experts claim two in three of these patients will be over 65.’NO-BRAINER’
Lead researcher Dr James Brown said the intervention was a “no-brainer”.
He said: “Our work shows that a simple service, whereby community nurses attempt to contact older adult patients after they are discharged from hospital, leads to a significant reduction in the number of patients readmitted within a month.
“It is now more important than ever to minimise the costs to our health services caused by unnecessary readmissions.
“It may seem hard to believe that something as simple as a phone call can have such a major impact, but our evidence suggests that this is so – the NHS could tackle the rise in readmissions by implementing
simple, inexpensive telephone services which improve communication with patients.”
It takes GPs around four days to be notified when one of their patients ends up in hospital – often too long for them to intervene and prevent them returning to A&E.
Healthwatch estimates emergency readmissions cost the NHS at least £2.4bn per year.
In the study, published in Future Healthcare Journal, researchers followed more than 750 older patients.
Those with no follow-up had a 15.7 per cent chance of being rushed back to A&E.
But those contacted by nurses saw their risk fall to 9.2 per cent – a 41 per cent drop.
ExclusiveTORN APART Facebook tipped my son over the edge – now his daughter, 2, has no daddy PARASITE-MARE Dozens of ‘WRITHING’ parasitic worms pulled from constipated boy’s tummy WarningNAILED IT Doctor removes horrific ingrown toenail from man’s big toe in stomach-churning op GEORGE’S BATTLE BBC’s George Alagiah begins bowel cancer treatment after disease returns ExclusiveNOWHERE GIRL The One Show’s Carrie Grant blasts school place wait for autistic daughter, 13 CARE SCARE Cancer patients ‘at risk’ over treatment delays – as worst places in UK revealed
Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “When patients are discharged in an unsafe manner and require rapid re-admission to hospital, the problem is very often a lack of support for them in the community.
“So it’s not at all surprising that well-judged community support can help avoid readmissions to hospital. What patients need is effective, fully resourced community services to help them stay as well as possible in their own homes.
“If this can be achieved through simple, low-cost initiatives then so much the better – but we do not want to see community NHS services being reduced to telephone support or in any way delivered on the cheap.”
NHS to roll out DIY smear test kits in a pilot scheme as five milion British women shun the clinic