A recent Carers UK report examined the potential role(s) of carers in helping to reduce emergency admissions and re-admissions to hospital; and to minimise delayed transfers of care from hospital.
Around 40% carers who have taken their dependents to A&E during the past 12 months assert the resulting hospital admissions might have been prevented with better support in the community, and / or access to a district nurse.
Carers were also questioned about the quality of the support they received pre- and post-discharge, regarding the planning and provision of services to support carers’ activities at home.
“A quarter of carers (25%) said that discharge was too early because the person they care for wasn’t ready to come home; 21% said the support was not available for them to be at home”. (p.13).
The selected list of section headings in this report summarises the drift of the argument and the main concepts / propositions:
- Carers use emergency services as the last resort.
- Lack of support in the community for carers contributes to emergency admissions.
- Carers are often not consulted or involved at discharge.
- The need to support carers in choosing the most appropriate NHS services.
- Access to NHS treatment in the community.
- Equipment, adaptations and technology in the home.
- GP out of hours access.
- Ensuring carers are supported.
- Coming out of hospital at the right time.
- More support for carers at the point of hospital discharge.
- Carers’ Rights at Discharge and Carer Passports.
- The Government should introduce a new duty on the NHS to identify carers to promote the development of a Carer Friendly NHS.
- The Government should improve funding for social care.
- NHS England should continue to improve support to carers, to help support the development of a Carer Friendly NHS.
- Footprint areas developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) need to “stress test” the plans from a carers’ perspective (repeatedly).
- Carers need to be considered alongside patients and service users at the heart of changing services. Services should be developed on a co-production basis, aiming at improved outcomes and health for everyone.
- NHS Trusts, CCGs and local authorities should work on integrated discharge policies.
- NHS Trusts, CCGs and local authorities should investigate the causes of re-admissions in order to build solutions.
- NHS Trusts should identify and support carers while patients are in hospital – using carer passports – to help make care transitions seamless.
- Local authorities and CCGs should improve training and advice for carers, to help them to manage conditions and increase their confidence about what to do in an emergency.
- Local authorities and NHS Trusts should ensure carers are better equipped to deal with emergencies. This might be achieved by working with local carers organisations and care providers.
- CCGs should develop systematically “Carer Friendly Primary Care Services” with integrated support across health, social care and the voluntary sector.
Lack of community services to support carers is piling pressure on NHS emergency care. London: Carers UK, September 30th 2016.
This relates to:
Pressure Points: carers and the NHS. London: Carers UK, September 2016.