LEICESTER’S City Mayor has praised the work of social care teams who have continued to work closely with Leicester’s hospitals to ensure patients can be safely discharged over the Christmas and new year period, and provided rapid support to avoid people being admitted to hospital in the first place.
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “In spite of the national situation regarding pressures on hospitals and challenges in discharging people, Leicester’s social care staff have been providing exceptional support to our hospitals. As a result, many people have been helped to get home quickly and safely, and the volume of delays reported elsewhere has been avoided.
“I would like to thank them and all of the staff working tirelessly across the whole of the NHS and in care services, who are doing a remarkable job during this crisis.”
Staff from the city council’s hospital discharge and reablement service worked every day over Christmas and the new year period. When the University Hospitals Trust declared a critical incident on 30 December, some staff cancelled annual leave to support with discharges. More than 30 city residents were discharged with care packages on the bank holidays alone.
The team ensures that people can safely be discharged from hospital by finding care services they can have at home, or by finding places in care homes where needed.
Many of those needing care when leaving hospital are not already known to social care services, so staff provide rapid care and an assessment of their needs. In most cases support is provided within 24-48 hours of help being requested with the discharge.
The numbers of people requiring support with discharge changes on a daily basis, but in the case of Leicester residents there are rarely more than 14-18 people waiting at any one time for support for discharge, which is usually achieved within a few days depending on the complexity of their needs.
“Cllr Sarah Russell, deputy city mayor for social care said: “In addition to hospital discharge pressures, we know that nationally, many thousands of people are waiting for support at home and as a result, are at risk of needing hospital admission. In Leicester, the number of people in the community awaiting a social care package any one time was under five for all of December. This compares to more than 30 each week in the same period last year. We achieved this by working closely with the independent sector care agencies in Leicester, who also went above and beyond over the Christmas period.”
The council’s integrated crisis response team, which works closely with colleagues in community health services, carries out a vital role in helping to avoid people being admitted to hospital. In the event of a fall for instance, the team visit swiftly to assess the situation and can often safely lift people and provide care at home to help them get well again.
Cllr Russell said: “In the run up to winter our reablement and crisis services have consistently delivered high quality, rapid care to people to get them home safely, and very importantly – to avoid hospital admission in the first place.
“In November, which is a typical month, the crisis team supported 465 people at home, achieving their two-hour hour arrival target for urgent cases by 100%. Staff from the crisis team have also been working in the A&E department during times of acute pressure to identify people who don’t need to be admitted if care can be provided at home.
“I would like to thank all of the staff involved for their hard work and commitment to making this happen.”
Support staff in the brokerage team – which finds packages of care for people in the community, to avoid hospital admission – also worked over the holiday period.
In December the city council launched a staff reward scheme which gave a bonus to private sector home care workers who stayed in employment over the winter period. This helped to stem the numbers of people leaving to find higher paid jobs.
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