Improving the lives of people with long term conditions

Almost one in three of the population have a long term condition, such as asthma, heart and lung disease, arthiritis or diabetes.

The NHS will not be able to meet this increase in demand unless it changes. Add to that the fragmented and inefficient way the NHS currently looks after people with long term conditions and the health service just won’t be able to cope a few years from now.

However, the 15 million people with a long term condition will benefit from a modernised NHS by being treated more effectively.

The new, modernised NHS will improve the lives of people with long term conditions by:

• giving them more support to self care – for example providing asthmatics with new technology they can use at home to check their lung function so they can pick up problems quickly before they get so bad they have to go to hospital
• remaining independent for longer using new technology – for example telehealth and telecare technology means people can have their vital signs monitored remotely by a health professional
• simplifying who cares most for a person – one professional not five
• healthcare professionals focussing on the overall health and wellbeing of the patient rather than just managing one of their conditions

‘The average cost of someone without a long term condition is around £1,000, which rises to £3,000 for someone with one condition and to £8,000 for people with three or more conditions.’ said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley ‘That’s one reason why we need to modernise the health service and the way we care for patients.’

Patients throughout the country are already benefitting from improvements.

In Ipswich a pilot project that has helped 107 patients to better manager their own conditions has seen a 75 per cent reduction in GP visits and a 75 per cent reduction in bed days in hospital over a six month period. Staff are also being trained to become health coaches to their patients.

Sutton Council has installed monitoring devices in patients’ homes so GPs can monitor their clients’ blood pressure, blood oxygenation and other indicators so they can take early action. A six month pilot in the borough reduced admissions and saved around £322,000.

In Swindon a Community Matron oversees patients with long term conditions. The Matron ensures people are educated about their condition and are more in control and confident to cope when they feel unwell. Using telehealth patients monitor their own blood pressure, weight and pulse knowing that there is someone at the end of the phone if their vital signs are not as they should be.

GPs in Barking and Dagenham are pinpointing high risk patients and giving them a care coordinator to prevent several people going to visit a patient.

Better outcomes, more efficient, improved involvement
Using technology at the health service’s disposal will help people stay independent for longer, receive care on-line or in their own homes, avoid unplanned hospital admissions or unnecessary visits to clinics. Offering different ways to communicate with health professionals means a more streamlined efficient NHS.

>> More information on long term conditions
>> More information about innovation in the NHS
>> David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, talks about long term conditions

In Innovation, News | Tagged , ,

2 Responses to Improving the lives of people with long term conditions

  1. JBromwich says:

    I am a healthcare professional and I see a lot of really brilliant practitioners supporting people with ltc’s and agree that further investment in technology, care coordination and case management would be key – this is nothing new. We have been developing these services for a number of years.

    I am however also a service user with a ltc. What concerns me is that the commissioning of our services seems to emphasize the economic context (not that it isnt relevant but mustnt be the only consideration and driver). Future commissioning potentially could be based on a medical and economic model. What investment will there be in ensuring we commission person centred care that engages patients in self care not just as an economic saving but because it will be better for service users to be empowered and take control. My GPs are brilliant in managing the medical apects of my care but it is an allied health professional who is really supporting me in managing this for myself.
    Im concerned that we wont invest adequately in theses front line clinicians (not just in terms of their availability but also their ongoing cpd) like specialist nurses and ahp’s – and with the current economic climate will lose these experts.

  2. Kim Lee says:

    I am a Specialist Community Matron leading an integrated Long Term Conditions Service in Kent. We are a team of Community Matrons, Case Managers and Specialist Nurses in the field of Cardiology, Respiratory and Diabetes. Our patients have the benefit of seeing the right clinician at the right time, we work very closely with both our GP and Acute Trust colleagues and fully utilise telehealth to support and clinical management and self care for our patients. Luckily our trust have recently invested in assistive technology allowing the Long Term Conditions Service staff to monitor patients for as little or as long as necessary to support their management. As someone who was heavily involved in the Kent Telehealth Pilot for telehealth I have seen the huge benefits of telehealth for individuals with Long Term Conditions, but it is also about the skills and expertise of the front line nursing staff supporting and monitoring that patients, telehealth and clinical expertise fit together like a hand in a glove.

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