Video-link health service success at Airedale Hospital

Keighley News: Ernest Towers, 93, with nurse, Jenny Beighton, at Sutton Lodge, receiving advice from Airedale Hospital via the telemedicine service Ernest Towers, 93, with nurse, Jenny Beighton, at Sutton Lodge, receiving advice from Airedale Hospital via the telemedicine service

A video-link that lets patients talk to health experts at Airedale Hospital is now in operation at 50 care homes.

Sutton Lodge residential home in Sutton is the latest to be provided with the telemedicine service, which has slashed hospital visits by the elderly and infirm.

The home is part of the Orchard Care Homes Group and is linked to a 24-hour service, provided seven days a week by the Telehealth Hub based at the hospital.

This means residents like 93-year-old Ernest Towers and hundreds of others can get medical help from consultants or specialist nurses via a secure video link if they need it – without having to leave home.

Mr Towers, originally from Garforth in Leeds, is a former member of the Royal Air Force. He has lived at Sutton Lodge for two years, and now doesn’t have to leave the home to get care and advice.

Sutton Lodge manager, Michael Hebden, said: “It’s brilliant – we really appreciate having back-up from the consultants and their medical team.

“Anything that reduces the time our residents spend in A&E is good for us, as it is so stressful for them to travel to hospital.”

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is working with technical partners, Involve, to roll out its telemedicine service to 200 nursing and residential homes this winter.

They will link up care homes in Bradford, Calderdale, Lancashire, Cumbria and the Midlands to the Telehealth Hub at Airedale Hospital, with the aim to help relieve pressures on urgent care services.

And new figures show dramatic reductions in the use of hospitals by care home residents who can access the service.

Hospital admissions dropped by 45 per cent, the length of hospital stays by 30 per cent, the number of hospital bed days used by the group dropped by 60 per cent and use of A&E by 69 per cent.

Rebecca Malin, head of business development and investment at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our patients, their relatives and the nursing home staff say they would prefer to receive more specialist care without having to leave their home – so it’s been down to us to change the way we work to meet their needs.”

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