Home First initiative joins up health and community services to provide seamless care


The initiative, supported by Handicare, launched in Somerset September 2017 and seeks to limit the number of days a patient spends in an acute hospital bed; reducing bed days lost as a result of ‘bed blocking’ and supporting people to move on from hospital sooner.

When there’s no longer an individual requirement for medical support in hospital, the Home First discharge to assess service, which joins up reablement and therapy services, allows patients to leave hospital rather than waiting on a ward for care assessments and rehabilitation planning, which can often be timely. At this point, three ‘pathways’ may be followed where they instead receive assessments and support at home or in a specialist unit, care home or community hospital – giving people the support they need in a place where it’s more effective. Patients are more likely to recover quicker when they are in familiar surroundings; they have a much greater chance of regaining their independence and are less likely to require social care and other long-term support. Kate Smith, responsible for therapy services at Musgrove Park Hospital, commented “Many of our patients and families have told us that they were very happy to be home sooner with support from therapists in their home.”.

The initiative has been embraced by Handicare MHBS with local Business Development Manager Eleri Davies-Hinks, and Mark Ripley Handicare MHBS National Patient Handling Adviser, providing support and delivering multiple Ethos Education training sessions focusing on moving and handling and enabling patients in unison with Kate Smith and Hannah Bagatelas, OT Lead at Yeovil District Hospital. The patient centered approach to the Ethos Education training sessions demonstrated how improved moving and handling techniques can have a significant impact, resulting in an early discharge from hospital via a Homefirst pathway. The Handicare team assisted with ‘bridging the gap’ from hospital to home by recommending and providing specific moving and handling products including the ReTurn7500i and MiniLift125; utilising the equipment the patient will become familiar with in hospital, at home.

Overall, the total amount of bed days lost within 6 months was reduced by 1,000 at a cost of £200 per night - a significant saving of over £200,000.

Tags: NHS,Healthcare industry,social care,health care,Home First