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Hospital admissions plummet in Cornwall thanks to pioneering integrated care model

The award-winning Living Well, which helps people take control of their lives and reduce their dependency on health and care services, has led to a 34 per cent* reduction in emergency hospital admissions, reports NHS Kernow.

Living Well is an innovative health and care approach that brings together people working in health, social care, the voluntary sector and the community to support people with two or more long-term conditions or those who are receiving social care. It has been developed with the Age UK integrated care programme and is supporting 1572 people in Penwith, Newquay and east Cornwall.

Figures just released for people being supported in Cornwall show:

   * 34 per cent reduction in emergency hospital admissions

   * 21 per cent reduction in emergency department attendances

   * 32 per cent reduction in hospital admissions overall.

The results demonstrate what can be achieved when resources are pooled to provide tailored care to meet people’s needs; helping to change lives for the better and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

The approach identifies what’s important to the person through a ‘guided conversation’ with a voluntary sector worker and someone who has become highly dependent on formal care, often combined with social isolation. This leads to small steps that build confidence and social activity, which have a positive effect on the person’s health, independence and wellbeing.

Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt says: “I am delighted at the excellent results shown by Living Well; congratulations to everyone who has been involved. As one of our Integration Pioneers, Cornwall is leading the way in joining-up health and social care services and this report shows more patients are getting better care, closer to home.

“Nationally, our £5.3 billion Better Care Fund is getting every local NHS and council working together to prevent people from becoming ill and provide care services seven days a week so we avoid unnecessary stays in hospital.”

Joy Youart, NHS Kernow’s Managing Director, adds: “We are at the start of a journey to transform the way care is coordinated by bringing together health, social care, the voluntary sector and communities. Our vision is for an integrated system that enables people to access seamless care to help them live the lives they want.

“We are beginning to see improvements across the entire system to support people from being admitted to hospital and, when they do, getting them home as soon as possible, with high levels of care in place to reduce their risk of being readmitted.”

Pam Creaven, Director of Services at Age UK says: “Continuing positive results in reducing hospital admissions prove that pioneering programmes of this nature are vital in tackling the ongoing and spiralling crisis in care. By relying on conventional health and care services we’ve seen time and time again older people are being let down and having to struggle on alone or being admitted to hospital when it could be prevented.

“Living Well shows that when professional groups are committed to working successfully together, pressures across the health and care system can be dramatically eased and, with support, people can live better quality lives.”

In October 2014, Living Well received a glowing endorsement in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, which sets out a vision for the future of the NHS.


*The evaluation figures are based on a cohort of 325 people who were supported by Living Well in Penwith from January 2014 to January 2015.