It has seen the NEWS (National Early Warning Score) system – which includes a medical assessment that is used by GPs, ambulance crews and hospitals to flag up potentially serious health problems.
The newly developed system aims to prevent people’s conditions from deteriorating, ensuring that early signs are being noticed by their care team.
Rachael Forbister and Jeannie Henderson from Sunderland CCG have worked jointly to develop the NEWS system with developer Whzan, and both are now supporting with the roll-out of the programme across all care homes in the city.
Rachael said: “Often older people can become quickly unwell, and despite having people around them who are monitoring them closely, without clinical evidence to back up their concerns, it can be hard for care teams to know the seriousness of the person’s condition. “This new system means that we can track medical observations – readings like oxygen levels in the blood and blood pressure – and they can be instantly shared with a team of professionals who can quickly and decidedly intervene, armed with clinical information that is guiding their decision-making.”
The technology and allows data to be submitted to a mobile device for tracking. The data is stored and it means that health colleagues – from GPs to emergency or ambulance teams – can make assessments based on information collected over a longer period of time. Coupled with other information, like nutrition plans and pain scores, data is pooled together to give a full overview of a person’s health at any given moment in time.
All Together Better Dr Tracey Lucas, CCG clinical lead on the project, said: “As part of the All Together Better programme, we are radically changing the way we deliver care to some of the frailest people in the city. “We identified very quickly that care homes are the roof over the head of many of the most vulnerable people in Sunderland, and we know that many of those people, who have ended up in A&E with health complaints could have been safely managed at home with the right tools, training and infrastructure, ensuring the most efficient use of resources within the NHS. “This new technology is designed to equip care teams with the tools they need to make sound decisions about whether medical attention is needed or not, and to ensure that people are getting the right care at the right time to keep them well.”
One person to benefit from the service is 90-year-old Freda Taylor, who lives in The Croft Care Home in Ettrick Grove. Freda recently had a stroke and lives with dementia, and the new system is being used to monitor her temperature, oxygen saturation levels, blood pressure, pulse and breathing, to ensure that she is well. The information is shared with her GP, who can make clinical decisions based on the information he is given.