The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given a “good” rating to part of the One Croydon Alliance that helps older people regain their independence after hospital stays.
The alliance, made up of Croydon Council, Age UK Croydon and local NHS trusts, launched its Living Independently For Everyone (LIFE) service in September 2017 to reduce the need for hospital stays among mainly over-65s with long-term conditions.
The LIFE team includes professionals from social work, community nursing, therapists, care providers and charity volunteers. Their work covers A&E care assessments, supporting discharge for hospital and supporting people at home, as well as professionals’ confidential discussions of joint care plans for residents.
Now the CQC has inspected the LIFE team’s community reablement service and rated it as “good”. This assessment included “good” ratings for all aspects of the service, including its safety, responsiveness and how well it was led.
The report summary said the service, which operates a specialist rehabilitation service to people who have just left hospital, provided joined-up and safe care which met residents’ needs well, had good communication between professionals and included appropriate staffing levels.
Feedback to CQC inspectors during the visit included comments from a service user’s relative, who said: “The service is very good, I’d rate it outstanding. They’d call and make sure I was happy with everything and that my relative was too. It gave them back the confidence they’d lost.”
In its first year, results from the alliance’s LIFE service include:
• Over 1,000 hospital referrals to get patients home faster or avoid hospital admission
• 95% of people in their own home within two hours of being discharged from hospital
• 847 possible hospital admissions avoided
• 15% fewer emergency admissions
• 18% fewer non-elective admissions for residents over 65
• 16% fewer non-elective admissions for residents under 65
In the LIFE service’s first six months, 62% fewer patients needed care packages six weeks after hospital discharge and around 450 residents spent less time in hospital, or none at all.
In March 2018, the One Croydon Alliance – formed in spring 2017 of Croydon Council, Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, Croydon GP Collaborative, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Age UK Croydon – signed a contract extension for another nine years.
Councillor Jane Avis, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for families, health and social care, said: “This rating shows how lots of organisations are working together really well to help residents enjoy greater independence at home and prevent lengthy stays on a hospital ward. I look forward to the One Croydon Alliance going from strength to strength and supporting even more people in the borough.”
Matthew Kershaw, Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said: “In my first week I was introduced to the LIFE team and was amazed at the substantial impact they have had in their first year to increase the independence, dignity and social inclusion for people in Croydon.
“This success has meant fewer admissions and shorter stays in hospital, allowing people to be cared for in their own homes. Their professionalism and team work demonstrates how integrated working will really benefit people in Croydon.”
Dr Dev Malhotra, Director of Croydon GP Collaborative, said: “This is an incredibly positive report and provides affirmation that by working in an integrated fashion, through the One Croydon Alliance, we are doing the right thing for the residents of Croydon.”
Dr Dan Harwood, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s Clinical Director, Psychological Medicine, Mental Health of Older Adults and Dementia, said: “The alliance is making real in-roads and transforming the lives of older people. Working with our partners we are developing services which provide mental health advice and support to staff looking after people living at home with long-term physical health problems. We are also designing new models of care for residents of care homes to improve both their physical and mental health.”
Kate Pierpoint, Chief Executive of Age UK Croydon, said: “This is a fantastic example of the value of partnership to the people of Croydon and it reminds us all in the alliance of what we are striving for. We look forward to seeing more initiatives like these, which put people at the heart of the prevention agenda.”
Andrew Eyres, NHS Croydon CCG’s accountable officer, said: “It’s so positive for the LIFE service to be recognised in this way and this rating clearly reflects the hard work of the dedicated team. We are extremely proud of the work of our partnership and the improvements this service has made to the lives of local people by supporting them to stay in their own homes and to avoid long stays in hospital.”