“Hospital at Home gave us back hope that better, healthier days are coming.”
An NHS service that a Chorlton couple described as ‘worth its weight in gold’ is expanding to support more people in Manchester.
Hospital at Home combines the skills of doctors, nurses and other specialist health professionals with the latest health technology to deliver care at home without the patient needing to spend time in hospital.
Chorlton resident Malcolm Brownhill, 70, received care from the Hospital at Home team earlier this year. Malcolm has Parkinson’s Disease and developed orthostatic hypotension, which led to a stay in hospital due to repeated blackouts and him being unable to stand-up.
After leaving hospital, Malcolm and his wife, Catherine, 67, were told about Hospital at Home. She said:
“The Community Crisis Response team came out to see us and really helped. They assessed Malcolm and said that rather than go back to hospital, they would refer us to the Hospital at Home team.
“We hadn’t heard of it before, but it was simply fantastic. We were contacted straight away by a consultant at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Dr Davenport, who came out to see us at home.
“Having a hospital consultant come to the home was worth its weight in gold. I didn’t even know that was possible. They see you as you are and how you are really living your life, Dr Davenport’s time with us led to an immediate change in medication that had a positive effect.”
After their initial visit, the Hospital at Home team arranged for Malcolm to receive occupational therapy and specialist physiotherapy support from the community part of the Manchester Local Care Organisation team, with daily visits all aimed at helping him progress back towards walking independently.
Catherine added: “We didn’t dream you could get that level of care at home and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the saving grace we needed at the time.
“Every single member of staff was smiling, kind and respectful. They called to let us know they were on their way every time, explained everything to us and their care led to Malcolm improving.
“I’d recommend Hospital at Home to anyone and I’m pleased to hear it is being expanded,” says Catherine. “It has to be the way forward. You can live more of a normal life. It’s more comfortable, there’s less anxiety and you feel less of a burden than being in hospital.
“Our granddaughter could still come and visit Malcolm and the joy and lift that gave him when he was unwell was so, so valuable. On a hot day we were even able to take Malcolm to sit outside in the garden and the team saw us there. All while getting the level of care you’d expect if you were on a hospital ward.”
Several months on from his time with Hospital at Home, Malcolm is doing well and has regained some of his mobility and is even able to go out with his family.
Catherine says: “The Hospital at Home service gave us back hope that better, healthier days are coming. We’re just incredibly thankful for what they were able to do.”
The NHS teams at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester Local Care Organisation are now increasing the number of patients that can be cared for in the city under the pioneering programme.
Patients can be supported in several ways such as taking services to their home where health professionals – including hospital consultants, advanced clinical practitioners, nurses, therapists and other staff – visit the patient to provide assessments and care. Hospital at Home also provides remote telemedicine support such as vital sign monitoring or can combine these offers. If a patient needs more complex diagnostic tests like CT scans as part of their care, they can be fast-tracked for an appointment and then return home without them needing to be admitted to hospital.
Dr Bex Davenport, a consultant geriatrician at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and for the Central Manchester Hospital at Home service, said:
“Hospital at Home is a great service as it’s much better for some patients to be seen at home to aid their recovery.
”I think it’s so much better for some patients to be seen at home. We can do a lot of the things that we need to in the comfort of their own home, like observations, bloods, ECGs and some other tests. Most importantly we can carry out in-person consultations in a more holistic and less busy environment than the hospital. It’s obviously not a physical hospital but we can provide high-quality, safe care at home. We can also get packages of care and therapy input really quickly.
“The fact that they are at home in familiar surroundings with their family around them rather than in the very unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital ward is so much better for them. There are less falls, healthcare associated infections and confusion. We’ve come on leaps and bounds in terms of what we can do in a patient’s home. The patients and their families tend to really appreciate that we come to them and it’s really rewarding for staff to work in this way as well.”
In Manchester, Hospital at Home is now being expanded on a staged basis to care for more patients from this month. It is initially focusing on patients with problems caused by frailty, respiratory problems and/or heart failure and provides holistic care to patients like Malcolm.
Mark Cubbon, Group Chief Executive of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, praised the teams involved in delivering Hospital at Home:
“Hospital at Home is changing people’s lives, providing them with better access to care in the comfort of their own home.
“It helps to reduce avoidable admissions to hospitals and make safe discharge back to the patient’s home easier. We are committed to deliver care closer to home, when it is possible to do so.
“Hospital at Home is a collaboration between our hospital and community teams working closely with GPs and our primary care teams. I’m proud of how our colleagues across Manchester and Trafford have made it their mission to improve the care and experience for our patients.”