The PRSB fully supports the recommendations of the new Care Quality Commission (CQC), report, which explores how older people move between different health and care services.

Published today (3 July), the Beyond Barriers report focuses on the needs of those with long-term and complex conditions, and the challenges facing the health and care services involved in their care. As people continue to live longer and need more support from a wide range of services, we need to see a major change in the way we manage their care and support.

The report highlights the lack of a shared plan or vision between services, which has resulted in people not getting the right care in the right place at the right time. As well as increasing expense and increasing demand on services, in some cases safety and quality of care can be compromised. To ensure that patients always receive good integrated and continued care after a hospital stay, it is vital that care homes and domiciliary care providers receive information in a timely way.

According to the CQC report, only half of the residential care homes who responded received discharge summaries most (75-100%) of the time, while 60% of domiciliary care services received the summary less than 25% of time. The report also reflects our own research study from 2017, which showed that information sharing with care homes is poor across the board, with 77% of home managers saying that this needed to change in order to support integrated health and care systems. The issue has been recognised by NHS Digital, and the organisation is currently developing digital products and services to transfer information from clinical systems into adult social care settings, with the aim of increasing the quality and efficiency of care. Using existing digital technologies (such as the NHS email service) care homes will have access to timely information about residents after a hospital discharge, meaning they are better able to deliver the care that is needed.

According to the CQC, we need a more flexible and collaborative approach to care, something the PRSB’s work can help to support. Good quality digital information sharing unpins integrated care, by allowing data to be shared with the right people who need access at the right time. By standardising information sharing across health and care, we can better support long-term change and development, leading to a future of better quality care for those who need it most.

You can see the full report here.