Red Cross scheme aims to reduce admissions of people aged over 75 to Ipswich Hospital with intensive support

Statistics released by NHS England showed that 96.6% of 1,398 patients who attended the hospitals e

Statistics released by NHS England showed that 96.6% of 1,398 patients who attended the hospitals emergency department were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour limit in the week ending January 18. - Credit: Archant

The team behind a new project which aims to reduce admissions to Ipswich Hospital among people over 75 say it will save resources as well as offering vital support to patients.

The British Red Cross is launching the Admissions and Readmissions Avoidance Scheme (ARAS), which offers 72-hour intensive support to people with low medical and social needs and who might be vulnerable after illness, accident, or a hospital stay.

It will run alongside the Red Cross’s Support At Home service, which currently provides a less intensive support service over a six-week period.

As well as aiming to reduce admissions, it is also hoped it will prevent people over 75 returning to hospital soon after discharge.

Mark Bradley, Red Cross health and social care manager for East Anglia, said: “Under ARAS we’ll be helping the people referred to us cope with the challenges of the first 72 hours after a hospital stay. This could include resettling them back into their homes, making frequent visits to them or keeping in touch by phone.

“The service also offers overnight support in our clients’ own homes, as night-time can be particularly difficult if you’re feeling vulnerable.

“We will keep in touch with everyone we’ve worked with if we’re hit by severe weather, to make sure they are coping, and if people then need further assistance, our ‘support at home’ and emergency response teams will be able to continue visiting them.

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“The new scheme will help to reduce hospital admissions and readmissions among the over-75s in the Ipswich area, save on hospital resources and make a big difference to the wellbeing of those who don’t need full medical treatment.”

In response to the launch of the new scheme, a spokeswoman for the Heath Road trust added: “We are very pleased to welcome this new scheme and look forward to working in partnership in the coming months.”

It is backed by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and will be managed by the Suffolk GP Federation.

Referrals will be made directly by the hospital.

Tim Reed, chairman of the Suffolk GP Federation, said: “This scheme, funded collaboratively by 32 East Suffolk GP practices, is about putting in place support and care so that older patients can be treated and recover safely and comfortably in their own homes.”

A CCG spokesman added: “We are pleased to support this initiative by the Suffolk GP Federation, working at a larger scale, to deliver improved outcomes for patients. We know that patients are likely to recover more quickly at home and the support services delivered by the Red Cross will enable this to happen.”