Work is now underway to give all of London’s care homes access to the London Care Record. In this feature we hear from Harpreet Shergill, NHS London Digital Health & Care Lead, about why this is so important (19 July 2023).
Supporting care home staff
Our dedicated care home staff are caring for tens of thousands of Londoners day in day out. It is really important that we ensure they have the tools they need to deliver the best possible care for these residents.
Most care homes are not currently connected to the London Care Record which is a single and secure view of a person’s health and care information that helps ensure frontline staff across the Capital have the information they need about a person when they need it.
This means they do not have instant access to key information about their residents like hospital discharge summaries, their medicines, previous medical history or plans for their care.
This often means it is harder to provide the best care for their residents and involves lots of time spent on the phone to GP surgeries, hospitals or others trying to get the information they need.
It can also lead to delays in a range of areas that impact on the care residents receive like administering medicines or discharges from hospital.
London Care Record pilot programme
So late last year I was delighted to I lead a pilot programme connecting the first care homes in the Capital to the London Care Record giving them access to more comprehensive health information about their residents.
This really was a massive team effort across a range of organisations including NHS England (London), Integrated Care Systems, OneLondon, system suppliers and of course the managers and staff of the 28 care homes in north east, north west and south west London who took part in the pilot. I would like to thank everyone involved for their support.
The pilot programme ran for eight weeks from December to February and included ongoing evaluation of the difference having access to the London Care Record was having. Some of the key findings included:
- The London Care Record was used around 2,000 times by care home staff with the most viewed information being hospital discharge summaries, diagnostic reports, laboratory results and care plans.
- Access to more complete information helped staff provide more effective care to residents, reduced unnecessary ambulance call outs and hospital admissions and supported faster discharges from hospital.
- It also saved care home staff, as well as GP surgery teams and hospital staff, valuable time by reducing the need to spend time on the phone checking key information that is available to view within the London Care Record.
Due to the overwhelming success of this programme it has been agreed by London’s ICSs and NHS England that access to the London Care Record will be rolled out initially to those care homes that have an electronic patient record system in the capital. We are also looking to enable those care homes that are paper based and will update in the future when we have more details.
This is great news. We know that being able to use the LCR made such a positive difference to staff involved in the pilot programme. So when extended across the whole of London, around 1,500 care homes, this is set to make a huge difference in terms of supporting staff provide the best possible care for their residents.
This is a major project so it will take some time and we will roll it out on a phased basis over the next couple of years.
In addition to getting the technical solutions right to make this happen there are a whole range of important areas that we will focus on like training of staff in data security, appropriate access and interpretation of the information being shared.
The first step is to agree the rollout plan and timetable with our Integrated Care System partners. Once we have done this we will publish more information about the next steps.
This is a really exciting project and I look forward to working with our partners, including care home managers, over the months and years ahead. This really will help support care home staff provide the very best care for their residents.
You can stay updated on progress with this project here.
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