Peaks and Plains Housing Trust’s TrustLink service has carried out a series of projects with Tunstall Healthcare to address health inequalities, by providing a range of services to meet individual needs.
The Falls Project
Launched to combat winter pressures and partly funded by the NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group Systems Resilience Fund, the falls project has seen TrustLink successfully forge partnerships with health, social care and third-sector organisations.
The service is aimed at patients who have fallen and require an ambulance response. Whereas often these patients would be referred to hospital for observation only, they can now remain at home and be referred, following a clinical assessment, to TrustLink following a falls pathway.
Following a referral, a TrustLink falls advisor will visit the client to undertake a falls risk assessment, identifying and addressing issues that might be contributing to the risk of falling. They will also signpost to other services that may help the patient to live safely.
From April 2015 to March 2016, TrustLink helped 2,176 patients; of these, 1,941 were able to stay at home, with only 235 taken to hospital (11 per cent).
Assuming a cost of £110 per A&E visit (not taking into account any further assistance required), this has saved around £214,000. Assuming the average cost of a stay for an emergency admission is £1,179, if only half these users had been admitted (970), the saving could be as much as £1.1 million over 12 months.
Life Links: Early Intervention and Prevention
Commissioned through the Better Care Fund and delivered through Peaks and Plains and Age UK Cheshire East, Life Links is a free service designed to help people in the community live life and stay well. A team of eight wellbeing co-ordinators work in the community to reduce the need for statutory healthcare services by co-ordinating support packages and signposting to appropriate agencies. Advice is offered over the phone, or home visits can be arranged if needed.
Life Links provide information on home adaptions and equipment, such as telecare, to help people live independently at home and works with them to prevent minor health conditions from becoming major problems. The team is also tackling social isolation by helping people get involved in local groups and activities in the community.
Long term, the aim is to support behavioural and cultural change; giving people the information and tools to make good choices about their own health and help commissioners deliver interconnected and sustainable services which meet the needs of individuals.