Kingsway Care & NHS Frontrunner Pilot

Kingsway Care and NHS Sussex join forces to speed up hospital discharge

“Through Kingsway Care’s innovative collaboration with NHS Sussex Frontrunner Pilot we will help get patients home from hospital more quickly.

Our joined-up health and social care processes will build a more efficient hospital discharge that could be rolled out nationwide. This is the power of collaboration and we are proud to lead the way.”

Vicky Haines, MD, Kingsway Care

Speeding Up Hospital Discharge

The Department of Health and Social Care announced the NHS Frontrunner Pilot to find innovative ways to improve how people can be supported to leave hospital more quickly. On average, a patient is in hospital for eleven days but could leave five days earlier if their recovery can be supported at home.

The aim is to alleviate the pressure on A&E departments and the NHS by freeing up hospital beds to allow an efficient flow of patients through the health care system and back into the community.

NHS Sussex was selected as a Frontrunner at the beginning of the year (2023) to explore how digital solutions could speed up the ‘hospital discharge to home pathway’. Their particular interest is for integrating NHS IT platforms with home care provider IT platforms to streamline the transition from hospital to home.

Joined-up Health & Social Care

Kingsway Care is recognised as the leading home care provider in Brighton and Hove and was seen as an ideal candidate to collaborate on the initiative. The primary aim of the pilot is to understand how home care providers can leverage the NHS’s wealth of patient data to improve discharge planning. In return, Kingsway Care are advising the NHS on what information domiciliary care needs (see list below) before they can agree to support patients that are medically fit for discharge.

  • mobility
  • medication
  • home environment
  • equipment needs (walkers, commode, hospital bed)
  • family or friend support networks
  • Mental capacity of the patient or identify Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Contractual / funding

To facilitate the sharing of vital information, Vicky Haines, Kingsway Care’s Managing Director, invited EveryLIFE Technologies to join the discussion with the NHS Sussex IT team. Kingsway Care was an early adopter of the all-in-one care management software, PASS, developed by EveryLIFE Technologies to digitally record Client data and care notes after each home care visit.

Hospital Discharge Planning

Besides sharing client data, the NHS Sussex Frontrunner Pilot will also allow Kingsway Care to see patients in the pipeline for hospital discharge so planning and care coordination can be expedited. By embracing this model and rolling it out nationwide, the NHS anticipates significant cost savings, increased bed availability for incoming patients, and a restoration of the natural flow of patients leaving hospital and returning home.

Obstacles to Hospital Discharge

What happens to hospital patients without a home care plan in place? They remain in hospital, losing their independence, struggle alone or rely on unpaid family carers.

Vicky Haines, MD, Kingsway Care

Vicky, Managing Director, Kingsway Care

Whilst Kingsway Care applauds the initiative, both the NHS and home care providers recognise there are several other factors that delay hospital discharge. From funding home care and finding enough carers to support the increasing demand for care at home.

Local Authorities refrain from engaging private home care providers with capacity because they are deemed too expensive. Private home care costs between £25 – £30 per hour but local authority rates are up to 30% lower. This leads to some care providers charging by the minute with shorter visits and paying less per hour to the carer without accounting for their travel time and mileage. The result is that the client receives inadequate care and the carer feels undervalued for their important work.

Recruitment and retention of care professionals is the most challenging issue for all home care providers. Even if the NHS Frontrunner Pilot is successful in speeding up hospital discharge rates, there currently aren’t enough trained and motivated care professionals to provide high-quality care at home to keep up with demand. See our debate on Care Sector Recruitment.

Leaders in Care

As an independent care home care provider, we have a responsibility not only to our CareGivers and Clients but also to the wider care sector to amplify the voices advocating for change. Currently in its early stages, this initiative with NHS Sussex aims to improve the accessibility of care for patients in hospitals. Consequently, it will help the NHS create additional space for those in need.

Kingsway Care is genuinely excited and proud to have been invited to collaborate with NHS Sussex on this much-needed project.

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