HomeFirst is a new rapid response service which helps people stay well and independent and which now operates in our Lower Lea Valley and North Hertfordshire areas.
The service supports older people and others with long term or complex conditions to remain at home rather than going into hospital or residential care. Many people prefer to be supported in their own homes, close to friends or family carers, where it is easier to get back into familiar routines and an independent lifestyle once their medical crisis has eased.
HomeFirst brings together health and social care services to deliver:
- improved access to rapid support with care from the right professional
- better communication between people using services and health and social care professionals working as part of the same team
- reduced accident and emergency attendance and unplanned hospital admission or residential care
- rapid discharge from acute hospital
The scheme has been planned and paid for by Hertfordshire County Council and East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. HomeFirst teams are made up of a partnership of health professionals from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and county council social care workers.
The service in north Hertfordshire started at the end of July 2014 and builds on a successful pilot scheme which was run in the Lower Lea Valley area since November 2012 with excellent feedback from staff, GPs and people using the service. HomeFirst’s operation has also coincided with significant savings locally on emergency hospital services against the forecast spending levels.
Patient case study
An 80 year-old patient was admitted to HomeFirst team following his wife’s call to their GP. The patient had had a fall and had become progressively more immobile and bedbound. The patient’s wife also had some mobility issues and was housebound.
HomeFirst were at the patient’s house within 14 minutes of taking the referral call from the GP. From the first day the patient received occupational therapy, physiotherapy and homecare services, which enabled him to stay at home and not be taken into hospital. The patient was back to normal and discharged from HomeFirst after 10 days.
A GP point of view
Dr Pauline Taylor, a GP at Cuffley and Goffs Oak Medical Practice has a patient with a long term condition, who lives on her own with a few friends that come by and act as her carers. The patient developed a urinary tract infection and because of her underlying problems, her mobility became affected.
“HomeFirst means we can get support in to our patients very quickly rather than admitting them to hospital. The HomeFirst team are usually at the patient’s home within an hour. The HomeFirst nurses have helped to treat and clear up the infection and the physiotherapists have done some wonderful work to get the muscle strength back in the patient’s legs. She’s getting more social care support too, which takes some of the weight off her friends who were acting as carers – it means they feel supported and cared for too.”