Research Elderly Viewpoint And Strong Demand For Live-In Nursing

Government cutbacks on NHS staff have been felt heavily by qualified nurses looking to obtain positions within the health service. However, new independent research carried out with the elderly may hold out a ray of hope for frustrated and skilled nurses who are currently out of the employment loop.

The independent research was conducted during February 2007, by TNS Face to Face Services on behalf of Consultus Care & Nursing Agency, with 437 adults aged 75 and over.  The results have revealed an overwhelmingly strong preference for live-in nursing: 88% preferring to receive long-term nursing care at home compared to 7% who would prefer a nursing home.

At a time when nurses who have been let down by government overspending are in need of opportunities to utilise their skills, the results of the survey make for encouraging news. An increase in live-in nursing care might also ensure that at least some of the estimated 600 million spent on health care training by the government in 2005 is not wasted: firms such as Consultus giving well-trained staff an opportunity to build on their skills rather than nurses choosing alternative career paths.

The research also raises questions pertaining to the plight of the elderly, many of whom are currently forced into nursing homes without other options being made available to them.

Philippa Easterbrook, a Registered Nurse based in Powys, currently working with Consultus, commented on the recently released research findings in relation to 89% of respondents who agreed that live-in nursing should be more readily available through the NHS. “Everybody should be offered the choice – rehab patients, people who’ve had operations – if it’s the right option for them and their health, of course they should.”

Her colleague, Registered Nurse Lorna Shaw agreed. “It should be more available.and people don’t realise the funding is there for special category patients. But social workers won’t offer it because it can be more expensive. Patients need to be educated about this so they can put pressure on the local authorities or the health authorities to give them what’s best for them.”

The research, which is the first of its kind, has underlined the strong views held by the elderly about where they choose to be nursed. Paradoxically at a time when Trusts hit worst by the NHS budget crisis are cutting back on nurses, there is a real demand for live-in nurses.

These skilled health care workers are able to give clients the 24/7 nursing care that they clearly want, whilst a choice of working weeks enables more nurses to remain in the profession that they have chosen. The reality is that live-in Nursing can provide an economical solution to both patients and nurses.

The next question is inevitably funding for live-in nursing patients, Kevin May Registered Manager of Consultus Care feels there is access to available funding for live-in nursing and in some cases sees this as a desirable option for an NHS system currently facing huge deficits.

“The ‘NHS Continuing Care Scheme’ headed up by the Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s) does provide funding for those who need either long term or palliative care outside of hospital. In order to ascertain whether a client would be eligible for funding a panel of local health and social care advisors such as district nurses, GPs and members of the local health authority meet to decide whether the clients needs are sufficiently deserving of Continuing Care, and what the most appropriate location for that care would be.

“The patients view is taken into account in these matters in terms of whether they would choose to be cared for at home or in a nursing home – the final decision being dependent on the criteria set by the local PCT or health board.”

“There are also options available to local PCT’s, to offer live-in nursing as an alternative, which are beneficial to the NHS system itself, enabling clients to leave hospital earlier and preventing bed blocking or even hospital admission.”

“Acute Trusts which administer the General Hospitals charge the PCT’s a higher fee if the patient being cared for in hospital has a certain condition – in some cases higher than costs for live-in nursing. In this sense, live-in nursing can be a financially beneficial option for the trusts – actually cutting costs for the NHS.”

It seems live-in nursing which is often deemed to be a more costly option could now be seen as a realistic solution to many of today’s financial ailments where the National Health Service is concerned – full time, one-to-one nursing at home recognised as not only qualitatively very desirable for many patients but also fiscally a better option for the NHS itself.