Continuity of Care – It’s Essential

Continuity of care for elderly

Over time the phrase ‘Continuity of Care’ has changed. Traditionally referring to the relationship that a person would have with a specific healthcare professional over the period of time needed, the term is now more commonly associated with the concept of the collaboration of a number of services aligning to deliver a seamless service.

Today, whether care/treatment is being delivered in:

- a hospital

- through GPs and Consultants

- by midwives during pregnancy

- by care workers in a nursing home

- in a person’s own home

it is rare that any service may be delivered by a single organisation. Providers must work efficiently and pro-actively in conjunction with one another to achieve today’s definition of quality and continuity of care. To this end, continuity of care is now able to be experienced, assessed and reviewed by all parties concerned. From healthcare providers to patients, from relatives to, of course, those to whom the ‘care’ is being provided.

In the homecare industry, quality continuity of care is often viewed by those who engage carers by the number of times the same carer visits a person throughout a week. So, for ‘hourly care’ (where carers pop in and out throughout the day/week) families would measure success as a provider arranging the same carer to visit each morning, the same person at lunch and the same person in the evening during the week, for example. When discussing ‘Live-in Care,’ continuity would be assessed and benchmarked by a person having the same carer living-in with them for a longer period and indeed rotating through the year with just one or two other carers. Quality of continuity in this regard is therefore more associated with a fixed pattern; same times, same days and the same person/people delivering the care at ground level. For any provider to achieve this they must work collaboratively through their office staff, carers and any other associated teams essential to the delivery. Once achieved, this is a key performance indicator of any homecare agency and the benefits are tremendous.

Let’s identify the key benefits of having the same carer visit, at the same times or for long periods of time here:

- Getting to know a person takes time! Once a relationship develops it is easier for regular carers to spot changes in condition

- Delivery of care if more efficient as regular carers know routines, preferences and choices

- If you can spot that change you can identify if help/medical intervention is needed sooner and thus, possibly prevent hospital admission

- Peace of mind for the person receiving care and their families

To summarise, high levels of continuity take true commitment from the provider delivering the care. Every stakeholder in the organisation must buy into the concept of the benefits and importance of continuity and believe it matters; even those to whom care is delivered.

If you would like to find out more about continuity of homecare and how it could benefit you or a loved one, please give our friendly expert team a call for a chat. Please call Pamela on 01264 319399 or e-mail and we will get in touch with you.

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