A therapy team providing in-reach services at Salford Royal NHS Trust’s emergency department has reduced overnight bed stays by five per cent over the last year.
Jennifer Rothbury, physiotherapist and one of the therapy team leads, said the reduction had been achieved by working differently and without extra resources.
‘This is the type of innovation the NHS needs to drive up efficiency and save money,’ said Ms Rothbury.
The in-reach team, staffed by three physios, three occupational therapists and an assistant practitioner, began work in September 2017. It was a response to massive pressures on Salford’s emergency department.
This summer, a Care Quality Commission report rated the trust as ‘outstanding’ overall, but said that its emergency services needed improvement.
The in-reach team works across professional boundaries. For instance, physiotherapists make basic assessments of cognition and the need for equipment, while the occupational therapists make basic assessments of mobility.
It can make referrals to community discharge-to-assess teams, who will see people and complete an assessment of their homes and care needs on the same day.
Shifting working patterns
When they came together as an in-reach team, all the therapists changed their working hours.
They now operate 12-hour shifts starting at 8am. This means they cover the busiest period in the emergency department, between 4pm and 8pm.
Data collected between September 2017 and July 2018 show that during this time the team saw near 420 patients through its in-reach work in the emergency department.
Of these patients, 78 per cent were discharged directly home, or to their place of care, after a therapy assessment.
Based on the estimated daily cost of a hospital bed, the team delivered a cost saving of nearly £100,000 for the trust during this time.
However, team members provided the in-reach work in addition to their normal duties, when they see approximately 30 patients a day in the hospital’s emergency assessment unit.
In September, Salford emergency consultant Darren Green gave a presentation about the in-reach service to a Society of Acute Medicine conference in Bournemouth.
The physiotherapy teams leads, Amy McGarry and Jennifer Rothbury, were also at the conference to presented a poster about their achievements.
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