The need for integration in healthcare is very important and growing all the time.
Startling recent statistics show there are 2.6 million older people who live with multiple long term health conditions like diabetes, dementia and heart conditions. What’s more, over 65’s represent 60% of all hospital admissions, have longer average hospital stays than other age groups and are more likely to be readmitted within 28 days in an emergency.
It is against this backdrop that Age UK is expanding its Integrated Care Programme.
Our aim is to reduce the number of people with long-term conditions going into hospital through unplanned admissions, improve their health and wellbeing and ultimately deliver transformation to the whole system.
Our unique Programme first launched in Cornwall in 2013. It sees Age UK staff working with trained volunteers, doctors, nurses, social workers and others to provide tailored wraparound care for older people with long term conditions who have experienced unplanned admissions into hospital in the year prior to joining the Programme.
The Programme in Cornwall has already seen great success, with early evaluations showing a 20% improvement in wellbeing amongst older people, as well as a 49% reduction in unplanned hospital admissions.
We’ve also picked up a Health Service Journal Award for managing long term conditions and received some really positive feedback from both older people on the Programme and the GPs who are benefitting from the whole system change that is occurring within their area.
And at a time of austerity, the Programme is proving it can save the taxpayer and healthcare system money, with a 41% reduction in acute hospital costs and 8% reduction in social care costs.
With these promising results under our belts, we’re now in the exciting position to be able to take the Programme to other parts of the country so that we can provide this life changing programme for many more older people. A site in Portsmouth has just launched, with six new sites to follow by summer 2015, supporting 6,500 people in total.
With the number of older people with long term conditions set to rise, which could cost the NHS and social care up to £5 billion by 2018, it’s vital that we get the right care and support in place across the country to help older people improve their lives. This is what our Integrated Care Programme is currently doing and we can’t wait to see how it will develop!