Blog originally posted by NHS Bradford Craven CCG

123 care homes in the Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven district are being given clinical support for their residents during the coronavirus outbreak. The Immedicare telemedicine service at Airedale Hospital in Steeton has been enhanced with the addition of GPs and GPs with special interests, hospital consultants, pharmacists, mental health specialists and social care to the already established base of nurses.

Development of the enhanced service has been carried out at pace, with the new arrangements having been put in place in just three weeks. In addition to residents in care homes, the clinical teams led by Dr Sara Humphrey and consultant nurse Rachel Binks are also reaching into patients’ own homes.

Described as personalised wrap-around care, the service:

  • supports people to remain well in their own home, providing expert clinical care from a range of specialists
  • offers support and guidance to care home staff on the care of residents
  • provides face to face video consultations
  • reduces risks of coronavirus transmission by providing video consultations
  • supports people to be safely admitted to hospital, when that’s the best place to meet their health needs.

The clinical team is staffed by a growing rota of people who work in the local health and care system. Video technology is used to talk with patients, look at any presenting symptoms and share information stored in individual patient records. This makes the consultation safer and more accessible for the patient and the people delivering their care. People can stay home, protect the NHS and save lives while still having their health needs met.

Local GP with a special interest Dr Sara Humphrey, who is associate clinical director for frailty, dementia and learning difficulties for NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“By using the Airedale Immedicare telemedicine hub we have been able to scale up our service to care homes at speed in response to their concerns at this challenging time. The digital consultation puts the carer face to face with an appropriate clinician, while keeping everyone safe.

“Having a multi-disciplinary team with access to a shared record means that in a single consultation we can assess a person’s needs and develop a personalised treatment plan that can be delivered in the safest place, whether that’s in hospital or the person’s own home.”

Consultant Nurse Rachel Binks who leads the team at Airedale said:

“The service is delivered via a secure two-way video link, which gives residents and staff immediate, face-to-face access to our team. In real-time, they monitor people on screen and provide advice, assessment and support. Our IT system allows access to full or summary care records to ensure safe and informed clinical decision-making.

“Our team is made up of experienced staff that have worked in a wide range of healthcare specialisms, encompassing care of the elderly; emergency medicine; intensive care; lungs and heart medicine; skin conditions and mental health, including dementia, as well as family doctors, hospital consultants and social care workers.”

Louise Bestwick, co-chief executive of Bradford Care Association and business manager at New Line Care Home said:

“The telemedicine service gives us and our carers the back-up of a complete clinical team available around the clock. They are responsive to the changing needs of our residents and are able to get the right support measures in place for them to receive the care they need in their own home.

“With this support we are able to give reassurance to families at a time when they are unable to visit that their loved ones are getting the right care, giving them peace of mind that any concerns can be escalated and resolved quickly and effectively, day or night.”

Further developments to come include more capacity to reach people who are living in their own homes with support from carers and further expansion of the team is planned, with the addition of Allied Health Professional (AHP) therapy staff to support rehabilitation and a range of therapies remotely. Mental health support is available from 8am to 8pm, aimed at supporting well-being.

To find out more about the service, please get in touch.