Community nurse leaders from two Black Country NHS Trusts joined around 300 stakeholders who met to discuss ways of improving care for residents in care homes across the region.
Organised by Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse of the Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB), the ‘Connecting Care Home Communities Together’ conference at Willows Hall in Willenhall focused on residents in care homes with health needs.
It promoted initiatives such as Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Care Navigation Centre and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s Care Co-ordination Centre, and the adult community services that can be accessed by contacting them.
Jane Astell, Advanced Clinical Practitioner, attended with her colleagues from Walsall’s Care Navigation Service, including Fiona Micheli and Sarah Gumbley – both leads for the Care Navigation Centre – and Rapid Response Team, and hosted a stall.
Jane said: “As a team we’d like to thank the Walsall care homes for attending. Relationships are key to forward thinking and we all have the same vision to protect our most frail elderly patients; a shared collective voice will make our care homes a key component in the overall health for Walsall residents.
“As case managers in these homes week-in, week-out, we think of them as our wider team and work well together and we are proud to work alongside our Walsall care homes.”
Ami Whiston, Matron for Care Co-ordination at Wolverhampton, said: “The theme of the conference was hospital admission avoidance and recognising the early signs of deterioration in residents so care homes can take the best course of action appropriate.
“The emphasis was on ensuring the care homes have that point of contact, rather than dialling 999.”
Hayley Law, Service Delivery Manager – Planned Care Adult Community at Wolverhampton, and Ami hosted a stand showcasing planned care, care co-ordination and Adult Community Services teams, and had the opportunity to talk to delegates about how the Trust’s Community Services can support people with health needs at home.
Hayley said: “We were able to network within our Integrated Care System; learning about neighbouring services and discuss better ways of working together.
“We have promoted access to our community services available via Care Co-ordination, especially with our care home colleagues to support admission avoidance.”
Ami added: “It was a fantastic event with good learning opportunities alongside showcasing our community services. It was great to see so many colleagues and stakeholders who we have worked collaboratively with in recent years to develop our services and relationships to what they are today and feel positive about future developments to better care for our communities.”
Molly Henrique-Dillon, Care Home Quality and Safety Senior Manager at the Black Country ICB who works with the care homes in Wolverhampton, and Tricia Evans, Clinical Lead for Community Services from Compton Care and Advanced Nurse Practitioner, were also among those in attendance.
All of the speakers had been involved with admission avoidance pathways. Other topics discussed included infection prevention, and remote virtual technology monitoring equipment.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) Hospital Avoidance Liaison Officers (HALOs) who work in the Emergency Department but signpost paramedics, attended with Scott Harris, lead for the Black Country Directory of Services.
Presentations included Jim McDonald, from the Black Country ICB, promoting the Virtual Ward and remote monitoring using DOCOBO, an IT software system which is being used across five care homes within Wolverhampton’s Virtual Integration partnership under the Trust.
Details held on DOCOBO include what a patient is like on a ‘good’ day and a ‘bad’ day and this information is regularly updated so staff can gauge a patient’s condition and any potential need for further intervention.
Other presentations included digitalising social care, out-of-hours services, recognising deterioration, the role of the two-hour urgent community response teams, the enhanced care model and how it supports care homes, the role of care homes in complex discharge pathways and recognising end of life.
District nurses from Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley NHS Trusts also attended, while the University of Wolverhampton and Birmingham City University (BCU) also hosted an education stand.