Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Patients in Anglesey are receiving more care at home to avoid admission to hospital.
Following a pilot in Holyhead from May 2012, the “Mon Enhanced Care Service” (MEC) has been rolled out across Anglesey and now provides a suitable, safe and effective alternative to admission to hospital. This forms part of the introduction of Enhanced Care at home across North Wales.
The Service is provided by the Health Board in conjunction with Social Services, and all GPs in Anglesey have signed up to participate in the project. So far 76 patients have been seen by the ‘MEC’. Of these patients, hospital admission was avoided for 70 of them.
Dr. Stephen MacVicar, GP Locality Lead for Anglesey, said "The feedback from the Anglesey GPs who have used the Mon Enhanced Care (MEC) Service has been very positive to date. As GPs we appreciate the availability of this intensive service which can provide rapid access to diagnostic tests, a consultant opinion, specialist nursing, and other health and social care professionals to support us, our patients, and their families. It gives us the option of looking after our patients at home, in certain circumstances, when before the only option was to admit them to hospital. We know that elderly patients in particular recover more quickly if they can be treated safely in their own surroundings and MEC provides the support for us to do this".
Prof. Bim Bhowmick, Consultant Care of the Elderly Physician based at Penrhos Stanley, Holyhead, explains how the process works. “Elderly people with complex chronic conditions occupy 70% of beds in the general hospital. Mon Enhanced Care is designed to address this and prevent hospital admission, with patients staying in their own home, or where they live such as a Care home, where possible. We know that most people prefer to stay in their own home and maintain independence, and experience shows that people get better more quickly in their own home environment”
Referral to the service is made by a GP and the MEC quickly visits the patients, usually within 2 hours. Diagnostic tests and assessments are undertaken by the Advanced Nurse Practitioner in conjunction with the patients GP, supported by a Consultant when needed. There is also support from the wider team of health and social care professionals, who have a valuable contribution to make. Once a firm diagnosis has been made the treatment can commence within the patients own place of residence. Social Services and therapy services are arranged on the day of referral: a very ‘rapid’ service indeed.
Daily ‘virtual ward rounds’ are held between the GP, the Advanced Nurse Practitioners, the wider professional team, and supported by a Consultant, and the patient continues to receive care until they recover and regain health.
Mrs. Joni Dennis from Trearddur Bay, whose mother, age 95, was looked after by the MEC following a stroke said “This care, bringing all the hospital services to her home was inspirational to witness and my mother has made a rapid recovery beyond our expectations. In familiar surroundings she has regained her confidence and balance much more quickly than she would ever have if she had been removed to a strange environment. As I walk beside her, now with her walking frame, she pauses to fuss with her garden and chat to neighbours I feel we are walking out from under a grey cloud of anxiety into the sunshine”.
Mrs. Dennis’s daughter, Lizzie Dennis, who is a trainee nurse added “Care delivery to Gran was outstanding. It has always been one of her fears to be admitted into hospital, this home enhanced care programme is something we never expected would be available on the NHS.”