Group activities could cut hospital admissions
GP surgeries may be able to reduce their patients’ risk of emergency hospital admission through specialised support and prescribing them activities such as book clubs, walking groups or coffee mornings, a new study suggests.
Patients at a GP surgery in Somerset had a 14 per cent reduction in emergency hospital admissions after targeted support, which included some social prescribing of such activities as well as additional care planning for those most at risk.
While the practice in Frome saw the significant dip in emergency admissions, the rest of the county saw unplanned hospital spells increase by 28.5 per cent.
The new study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, examined the emergency hospital admission rates of more than 28,000 people registered at Frome Medical Practice compared with the rest of Somerset.
The GP surgery had implemented a “complex intervention” plan which involved targeted identification of people at risk of unplanned hospital admission and “compassionate” community care.
Those who needed support were offered one-to-one assessments to work out a personalised care plan and were put in touch with a range of community services to improve their social contacts, fitness and management of chronic disease, as well as providing advice on housing, bene- fits, welfare and education.
They also received social prescribing as necessary – described by authors as a way to connect, or reconnect, patients with their communities through activities such as book clubs, walking clubs, coffee mornings, gym classes, befriending groups, and others.
“The intervention involved rigor- ous identification of all those in need, not limited by age or diagnosis, followed by care planning and referral to the community development service for goal setting and social network enhancement,” the authors from the University of Bradford and the GP surgery wrote.
The researchers found a significant reduction in emergency hospital admissions among those registered at the practice.
They said this not only yielded personal benefits for patients but also saved the NHS a significant amount of money. Costs of unplanned admissions for 2013/14 in Frome were £5,755,487. For 2016/17, the costs were £4,560,421 – a reduction of more than 20 per cent.
“The complex intervention in Frome was associated with highly significant reductions in unplanned admissions to hospital, with a decrease in healthcare costs across the whole population of Frome,” the paper states. “Social connectedness has long been known to be a primary determinant of health and longevity. The authors have found a way to bring this into routine clinical practice in a systematic way.”
Percentage reduction in emergency hospital admisssions