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Ƶ supports health and social care integration meetings – a reflective case study

08 Jul 2024

3 min read

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  • Workforce development

To support making integration happen, Ƶ works closely with adult social care providers and integrated care systems (ICS) to help achieve greater understanding of the vital role of the sector in helping to meet local care needs.

Alice McGee, Chief People Officer at NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), was keen to develop new relationships and gain a comprehensive understanding of adult social care needs. Her goal was to ensure a stronger social care voice within the ICB. To facilitate this, Ƶ arranged visits to two different types of care providers.

Jen Langford, Local Delivery Manager (Midlands) for Ƶ, was on hand to support the sessions and report the key takeaways from each.

Ƶ Instead

Ƶ Instead in northwest Leicester offer domiciliary and specialised care for a range of long-term health conditions. Their care prioritises early interventions over crisis care, mainly serving older individuals with dementia and Parkinson's disease.

The visit to Ƶ Instead proved to be highly insightful for all parties, fostering a productive dialogue and outlining a variety of potentially beneficial collaborative opportunities. It has been agreed that Ƶ and Inspired to Care will participate in future events and meetings to progress these initiatives and discussions.

Actions and insights

  • Funding challenges were a hot topic, as the people drawing on care from Ƶ Instead are often reliant on direct payments (DP) or continuing healthcare (CHC) funding, which often require additional financial support.
  • The ICB acknowledged the need for primary care professionals to understand various adult social care types and provide appropriate signposting and support for families.
  • They recognised the increasing need for NHS recruitment fairs to be both health and social care focused.
  • Care provides experience consistent issues with ‘losing’ people in care when admitted to hospital – there was a discussion on the potential benefits of shared care records, something which is currently limited to care homes. The ICB agreed to investigate a restricted view version for broader use to enhance care continuity and minimise this problem.
  • Ƶ Instead's hospital discharge service was identified as a potential area for efficiency improvements by utilising social care resources for patient discharge transport.
  • The ICB has funding to support care leavers into health roles, and it was suggested that Ƶ could explore if this could be something that extended to include adult social care roles.
  • The 'Workforce strategy for adult social care' was highlighted as an important step in supporting clearer career pathways for social care vs health roles.

Rushey Mead Care Ƶ

Rushey Mead Care Ƶ has also made a connection with Alice and the Northamptonshire ICB. They are a 50-bed facility that supports people with physical needs, including amputees, individuals with diabetes, and those requiring various therapies. While the home does not provide nursing care, it adopts a medical approach to its care services. Rushey Mead also operates alongside a second facility primarily supporting individuals living with dementia.

The visit provided plenty of insights and opportunities for partnerships were uncovered. Alice commented that the aim of collaborating should be to “do things once, do things well, together” – an encouraging statement for the future of such projects.

Actions and insights

  • Rushey Mead identified several areas where efficiencies could be improved. For example, approximately 30 residents require thickener, resulting in the need for 30 individual bottles to be acquired. The home suggested that a group prescription, like those used in hospital wards, would be more efficient. Additionally, they expressed a need for a single ward-based machine for diabetes management instead of managing 17 separate devices. Alice agreed that the ICB could potentially support these initiatives.
  • The home employs several international staff members who were already in the UK prior to joining. Some challenges with written English proficiency were noted and Alice has agreed to investigate local support options for improving language skills.
  • The provider expressed a desire to simplify the referral process for community-based support services, such as diabetes nurses, SALT (speech and language therapy), and community therapy. They proposed implementing an online ticketing system to track referrals, which would eliminate the need for constant follow-ups and lengthy hold times. The ICB agreed to take this suggestion back for further discussion.
  • It was noted that there is a lack of training available for kitchen staff on meeting SALT needs. They eventually found one person who provided some support, though such training is readily available in the health sector. Alice and the ICB have agreed to consider how the organisations could collaborate more to address this skills gap.

Ƶ was thrilled to support and facilitate these sessions, which foster collaboration between health and social care and have the potential to make real differences in the quality of care delivered. These sessions showcased how bringing together care providers and senior ICS members can lead to actionable insights and meaningful partnerships.

Alice McGee, Chief People Officer at NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board said:

“At the core purpose of an Integrated Care System (ICS) is the vision to ensure that our population and staff get the best care and experience of health and care. We know that increased demand and changing perceptions of health and care means that relying on models of care and working in silos is not going to deliver the care we need, and all want to deliver. By spending time together and understanding our worlds, seeing opportunities to reduce waste, have seamless and a better experience we will achieve better integration. My hope is that we will continue to be inquisitive about our sectors, know what we do best and what can be even better if we work together to find opportunities for collaboration”

Want to find out how to get involved with your ICS or make connections with adult social care employers? We can help you. Contact your Ƶ locality manager to find out more.

Visit our integration hub to find details of how to get in contact with the locality manager in your area:

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