Primary Care Sheffield is involved in a number of programmes of work aimed at improving the health and well being of older people in Sheffield. This work aims to support patients to live safely and independently at home as much as possible for as long as possible, with the appropriate support coordinated around them where it is needed, whether this is support in managing health conditions or social aspects of their care.
Part of this work has involved Primary Care Sheffield providing resources to support the pilot of a ‘virtual ward’ approach to managing the care of patients who have been identified as frail and at risk of hospital admission or who otherwise have complex health and social care needs. The virtual ward brings health and social care professionals (such as GPs and community nursing) closer together, in a similar way to a ward on a hospital. Each patient being managed on the virtual ward is monitored by a team of health and social care professionals who are able to respond quickly and make referrals into other agencies if the patient begins to show signs of becoming unwell to hopefully prevent the patient from getting worse. We have helped to create opportunities to showcase the approach to other areas of the city through the Neighbourhood Learning Network and also developed a video featuring a patient on the virtual ward.
As an organisation spanning across all general practices in the city, we are also well placed to work alongside colleagues within mental health services to pilot new approaches that create closer links between mental and physical health within primary care.
Read more about this and other work to support older people in the newsletter below.