Posted on: 19 September 2023
At CNWL’s Therapies Conference earlier this year, we heard about a project from the Hillingdon Care Support Team which has led to improved resident safety for people in care homes across the borough.
Working with specialists in Dietetics, Pharmacy and Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), the team have reduced the number of people being given inappropriate supplements that can lead to hospital admissions for aspirations and chest infections.
More details about the presentation can be found below and Sue Potter (Dietitian), Manisha Bhatt (Pharmacist) and Sarah Snow (Speech and Language Therapist) explain more.
Collaborative working in Hillingdon
The Care Support Team (CHST) covers over 50 establishments in Hillingdon (a total of 1631 beds) in nursing and residential homes, supported living as well as mental health and learning disability homes.
They aim to reduce ambulance call-outs, A&E presentations and hospital admissions for avoidable causes, such as chest infections.
Earlier this year, they saw two incidents in the same care home of residents being given inappropriate supplements, which triggered the team to launch an audit on medication formulations. They wanted to identify other patients having medications or supplements that might be at risk.
In order to collect the information, CHST engaged with the Care Homes Quality Assurance Team and they asked for support from SALT, Dietetics and Pharmacy who conducted patient reviews.
The audit identified 22% of patients who were on a modified diet, medications, oral nutritional supplements, or a combination which could result in a hospitalisation.
Wider impacts of the audit
The audit has prevented further incidents and hospitalisations, showing how increased interprofessional working brings more holistic health care for patients.
Multiple training sessions were provided to homes where incidents had occurred, giving staff a greater understanding of the risks and increasing confidence to seek advice. The audit has seen better working relationships with care home staff, with more open lines of communication to discuss referrals or modifying medications.
There has been heightened awareness of the issues in wider Hillingdon teams, and Sarah hopes to extend the work further.
They plan to run yearly training for care homes to upskill the current workforce and new staff members:
“It was great to be able to share our work with other AHPs. We had some really positive feedback and discussion with other allied health professionals, which we hope may lead to positive changes in care homes in other boroughs,” she said.
Praising the team, Nicola Barrett, Head of Speech and Language Therapy, Ealing Community Partners said:
"I really enjoyed your team’s presentation about the nursing home medications audit. It was so interesting and has definitely raised more than a few questions. We’ve also been speaking with our team over here. Really well done!”