The Nuffield Trust has published a new report looking at the hospital and social care interface and what works when it comes to interventions targeting older people. It makes a number of recommendations for policy-makers and local hospital leaders.
Managing the hospital and social care interface: Interventions targeting older adults explores the actions and strategies that providers and commissioners have put in place to improve the interface between secondary and social care, with a focus on what hospitals can do. In particular, the report's authors look at:
- Collaboration to prevent avoidable hospital admissions.
- The interface between hospitals and social care providers when patients are discharged from hospital.
- The relationship between commissioners and social care providers.
- Whole-scale organisational integration.
Drawing on the experience of seven case study sites, as well as evidence of what has worked to-date, the authors, Holly Holder, Stephanie Kumpunen, Sophie Castle-Clarke and Silvia Lombardo make five recommendations for national policy-makers and seven for local hospital leaders.
Recommendations for policy-makers are:
- Move beyond a focus on delayed transfers of care.
- Consider small-scale as well as large-scale organisational change.
- Focus on increasing the health and social care workforce.
- Understand the capacity of community-based services.
- Make use of other sectors where possible.
Recommendations for local hospital leaders are:
- Think imaginatively about the workforce.
- Do not make decisions about social care, without social care.
- Think carefully about different types of integration.
- Consider pooling budgets to facilitate progress.
- Make sure that integrated teams have appropriate processes to support them.
- Make sure that commissioners are on board.
- Collaborate with housing partners.
The authors conclude that, 'None of this is easy. But as both the health and social care sectors face the biggest challenges that they have ever faced, improving collaboration is more important than ever.'