NHS South West London CCG is putting into practice the standard it developed with PRSB for sharing information for an urgent referral from a care home to hospital. This work was part of NHS Digital’s social care pathfinder programme and PRSB published several new social care standards to support the pathfinders’ work.
Previously shared in a physical “Red Bag”, the standard covers the information that needs to be shared from a care home to a hospital in an urgent situation, where a person needs swift access to care. The staff at NHS South West London CCG have worked with care homes of all sizes and at various stages of digital maturity to implement the standard and they have seen huge benefits as a result. In interviews with care homes all said they were able to share information across system boundaries in a timely fashion, and that better communication with family members was happening as a result. Unlike physical red bags, digital information was less likely to get lost, including advanced directives which share information about what sort of treatment a person wants to have or wants to avoid, such as intubation.
Care homes believed that sharing information in a standardised way meant the support people received was more personalised to their needs. This is enhanced by the ‘About Me’ standard, which is also being implemented alongside the urgent referral from care home to hospital standard. Outlining all the personal information that care professionals need to know, care home managers felt that sharing this put the minds of both residents and their families at ease. For example, if they had to have an injection but feared needles, the care staff would have that information and could put extra support in place.
Meanwhile the project is highlighting the importance of information governance and cyber security, and is supporting care homes to meet required standards. In interviews, the management team at NHS South West London CCG was commended for its commitment to working collaboratively across different groups, including software suppliers, Healthwatch, care homes and ambulance services to make the standard work in action. If you have questions about implementation of any of our standards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.