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Specialist nursing teams found to improve elderly care

25 July 2008

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Community nursing and physiotherapy teams in care homes for older people improve quality of life and reduce hospital admissions, according to a study.

The research, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, showed that potential costs were offset by savings made through reduced hospital admissions and delayed transfer to nursing homes.

The two-year pilot scheme was undertaken by the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, and the University of Warwick.

UWE researcher Deidre Wild said, “Allowing people to remain in their care homes by bringing in specialist care during episodes of illness was greatly valued by both residents and staff. Staying in a familiar environment gave care home residents a greater sense of security during challenging times.”

The specialist team was able to detect and deal with undiagnosed illnesses that helped to produced long-term benefits for residents’ health.

Professor Ala Szczepura, of Warwick University, said: “During the two year study, between 80 and nearly 200 potential hospital admissions were averted, and 20 early discharges made possible.

“Beyond the clear benefits cited by residents and staff, we estimate that investment in such a service could produce savings of up to £250,000 per annum to the Primary Care Trust and Local Authority.”

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