Care home patients being linked to GPs directly to monitor their health
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Patients in care homes in east London are being linked up directly to their family doctors using new healthcare technology.
It follows concern about isolation when the pandemic first spread a year ago, putting those in care sometimes at risk of vital treatment being missed.
The Inhealthcare patient monitoring service for the NHS has brought out a new app for care home staff that's connected directly to GP surgeries across east London to help doctors identify patients at risk of developing problems so that they can intervene early with treatment.
“This bridges the gap between care home residents and doctors in lockdown,” Inhealthcare’s chief executive Bryn Sage said. "The safe technology enables clinicians to spot the early warning signs of health deterioration and take the right steps to support patients.”
The new service is connecting primary care networks with up to 215 care homes in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering, Hackney and the City, and Waltham Forest.
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It aims to "keep vulnerable residents safe and well” and prevent avoidable hospital admissions during and after the pandemic.
Osman Bhatti, a Tower Hamlets GP and clinical information chief for the East London Health and Care Partnership, said: “Patient monitoring in care homes is critical to connect primary care with residents.
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“It gives care home staff early intervention in the care of vulnerable residents and helps us to manage their health and reduce avoidable hospital admissions.”
GPs have been using remote consultations since the beginning of coronavirus wherever possible to carry out care home ward rounds and assessments.
Now care home staff can use the service to get readings from residents and submit them for automatic triage with the new app integrated into GP clinical systems. Any readings falling “out of range” create alerts for GPs to take action.
The service uses the standard early warning "scoring" for assessing and responding to acute illness. Scores are also used to assess physiological measurements including respiration rate, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, pulse rate, level of consciousness or new confusion and temperature. Care homes are supplied with blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors and thermometers as necessary.