NHS at-home medical service helps hundreds avoid hospital stays 

Hospitals at Home sees medical staff including doctors and nurses travel into the community.

A service offering medical treatment in patients’ own homes rather than having to be admitted to hospital has been used by almost 500 people in the last six months.

Hospital at Home in East Lothian sees medical staff including doctors and nurses travel into the community.

The purpose of the service is to reduce hospital admissions for elderly patients by providing treatments in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

Advanced nurse practitioner Judy Donaldson said: “I love the fact that we’re going into people’s homes and keeping them at home. They do so much better at home.”

STV News joined her in visiting patient Carol Mulholland from Pencaitland.

She has been diagnosed with blood clots and is on oxygen.

Carol told us she is much happier in her own environment.

“We all know you relax more, don’t you, and I’m quite sure it helps aid your recovery,” she said.

“While I was in hospital a few months ago I was very anxious during that time, I think everybody is and you don’t get much sleep, whereas at home you relax.”

Judy believes avoiding admissions to hospital can have longer term benefits for elderly patients in particular.

Almost 500 people have been treated as part of Hospitals at Home over the last six months

“It doesn’t take long for people to become institutionalised,” she said.

“If you’re in a hospital gown and a hospital bed you don’t have access to people popping in, it causes problems further down the line.

“People who’ve been independent before they’ve gone into hospital suddenly can no longer go home because they now rely on help to get up or eat.

“So if we can keep them at home then we break that chain.”

A further £3.6m has been allocated to the NHS’s remote hospital care service supporting more than 150 extra virtual beds.

The investment for 2023-24, which will take the total funding in the service to more than £10.7m since 2020, will increase patients managed through Hospital at Home by 50% – an additional 156 beds. 

Funding will be available to existing services, and areas yet to develop Hospital at Home, with improvement support provided by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. 

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