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The Updated Framework For Enhanced Health In Care Homes 2020/21

George Griffiths

27 January 2021

The Updated Framework For Enhanced Health In Care Homes 2020/21

George Griffiths

27 January 2021

In March 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement unveiled documentation outlining updates to the Enhanced Health in Care Homes framework.

The framework is designed to introduce a series of deliverables which target care home health management and seeks to unite care homes with dedicated Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries.

These deliverables include:

  • Weekly care home visits from a healthcare professional, and fortnightly GP checks within the care home
  • Development of care home staff knowledge and training
  • Coordination of care homes with local care services and consistent support
  • Delivery of flu vaccinations for care home staff and residents, as well as family members and visitors who may not routinely be vaccinated but may carry the virus unknowingly
  • Structured medication reviews

The idea behind the framework is that, by enhancing services and combining resources in primary care and community services, more proactive, consistent care can be delivered to residents in care homes.

This care is designed to be responsive and aims to improve preventative and maintenance care, thus reducing the need for emergency intervention and hospitalisation.

The problem of reactive over proactive care

For those residents living in a care home, health care and support has traditionally been provided on a reactive basis rather than a proactive one.

That is, residents receive care when their condition deteriorates to a point where intervention is required.

This is as opposed to them being monitored on a regular basis by a local, community based integrated care team, whose role is to support people and care home staff and prevent the escalation of ill health.

This lack of proactive health and care management has in the past been a major factor in unplanned hospital admissions, which could have been avoided had a more preventative measure been put in place in care homes.

In fact, the NHS released figures which suggest around 35-40% of emergency admissions from care homes could have been prevented had there been a more structured health management plan in place within the home.

That’s where the Enhanced Health in Care Homes 2020/21 model comes in, developed by NHS England in partnership with the Primary Care Networks made up of local GP practices.

It is a strategy designed to support care homes, with the goal that they will benefit from more consistent and rigorous internal health management systems.

How does the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework 2020/21 work?

Part of the main aims of the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework is using Primary Care Networks to develop services which benefit the care home community, and which help to keep people out of hospital wherever it is clinically possible.

In essence, the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework provides the implementation strategy for a new stage in the care home healthcare process.

That is, one which supports the need for proactive care and earlier intervention and is able to deliver the right kind of care, by the most appropriate professional, in the best setting, and to avoid hospitalisation when this is clinically the right decision.

Not only will this reduce the number of beds being used by people who could otherwise have been helped at an earlier stage within a care home setting, but it also means that care can be delivered to residents in the comfort of their homes, providing a potentially safer and more relaxed experience for them. 

The benefits of the framework for care homes and care home staff

For care home staff, one of the biggest impacts of the framework is on the supply of training and development opportunities, which will allow them to manage situations appropriately and will better equip them to respond to medical situations.

This means care home staff are better trained to identify earlier health issues which could lead to a more severe issue if left untreated, and have access to better primary care designed to bring that health issue under control.

By coordinating care home staff, and by supporting their care with weekly healthcare professional visits and fortnightly GP visits, care home staff will be able to better manage the health and wellbeing of their residents.

They’ll identify potential medical problems far earlier with the support of regular healthcare professional visits, and thus ensure residents receive the care they need before they become so unwell that they need to be hospitalised.

The framework looks to move away from traditional, reactive models of care towards preventative measures, proactive care, and early intervention.

The aim of this is to keep residents in their homes wherever possible, rather than leaving an issue unmanaged until it reaches a stage where hospitalisation is needed.

The only way to achieve this is through a more proactive approach to healthcare within care homes, and the best way to make this happen is by uniting care homes with local GPs through their Primary Care Networks.

Whether care is funded by a Clinical Commissioning Group, local authority or self-funded, the Enhanced Health in Care Home service applies equally to all those in care homes.

Through the Enhanced Health in Care Home Framework, the aim is to deliver a strategy which makes health management more streamlined, united, and centred on the needs of care home residents, their families, and the care home staff.

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