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10 February 2022

The Urgent Community Response teamFrimley Health's new  Urgent Community Response (UCR) team, which can provide care in people’s own homes within two hours of a professional referral, has been praised by the patients’ families.

The  team sees patients with an urgent care need who have been referred by either a GP or community clinician, including community matrons, specialist nurses and home-visiting paramedics. The service is offered across Farnham, north-east Hampshire and Surrey Heath.

Building on the success of our Hospital@home service, the multi-disciplinary team can offer a similar level of care to a hospital ward – but in the patient’s home. The team can carry out blood tests, give IV medication, take an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading and give a nebuliser or oxygen, alongside therapy assessments and providing equipment to help patients’ mobility.

It’s a great example of how Frimley Health is working with its partners to transform services and improve care and outcomes for patients.

The majority of cases referred to the service are patients who are in ‘frailty crisis’, which may be people who have had a fall, reduced mobility or have acute confusion.

Patients are treated in the comfort of their homes for a condition that would otherwise require admission to hospital. The service has received high praise and the team has reported that many patients recover more quickly when they are cared for in a familiar environment, surrounded by their regular support network.

Admission to hospital is avoided in 96% of cases and the average ‘length of stay’ is just 3.4 days compared to 9.1 days in an acute hospital.

A Frimley Health Hospital@home survey showed that 100% of patients would recommend the service and would rather be treated at home than admitted to hospital for future episodes of care.

One patient’s family member said: “Exceptional care was given to my father. [The team] were very proactive and sorted out extra problems that they discovered on arrival, including a blocked catheter…. it’s an excellent approach to patient care.”

Another relative, whose mum was cared for by the UCR team, said: “This service is absolutely wonderful.

“My mother was assessed very quickly and very efficiently. In the blink of an eye, they were taking blood, rehydrating her and giving her anti-sickness medication. They visited her again two days later and rehydrated her again and booked her a CT scan.

“Being able to treat her in a ‘home’ environment was such a positive experience. I cannot say enough times how valuable this service is for the elderly in the community.”

The UCR team includes consultant geriatricians, advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), admin support and therapists from both our Frimley Health intermediate care and the   Health Care Resourcing Group ( HCRG ). The team attending the patient’s home will vary according to the specific needs of each case.

The UCR team was formed in December 2021 and cares for up to 10 patients in their homes every day, while accepting up to four new referrals. If funding is secured, it could be rolled out as a seven-day service, operating from 8am-8pm, as part of NHS England’s Ageing Well initiative.

Lucy Abbott, Consultant Geriatrician and Chief of Service for Community Services and Older People’s Medicine at Frimley Health, said: “We were already ahead of the curve with our Hospital@home service.

“We had a team in place with the right skillset and a strong collaborative relationship with our local partners across the community.

“If we can secure the funding to expand the team, the next phase will be for the UCR team to take referrals from 111 and 999, and to operate for more hours every day of the week.”

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