Falkirk Community Hospital: Health Secretary Humza Yousaf praises NHS Forth Valley team

An initiative which allows elderly patients to receive treatment in their own home has been praised by Scotland’s Health Minister.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 4:18 pm

Humza Yousaf congratulated NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home team for their efforts during a visit to their base at Falkirk Community Hospital yesterday.

The Hospital at Home service aims to reduce hospital admissions for elderly patients by providing medical care in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

The service enables people to receive treatments that would otherwise require them to be admitted to hospital, such as an intravenous fluids or temporary oxygen supplies. It also provides access to hospital tests under the care of a consultant in their own home.

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Health Secretary Humza Yousaf on a visit to Falkirk Community Hospital to announce additional funding to develop the Hospital at Home scheme. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

More than 750 patients across Forth Valley have benefited from the service since it was established 12 months ago.

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Announcing further funding of £3.6 million to expand the service across Scotland, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Hospital at Home is one of the many ways we are providing more care in the community and reducing pressure on hospitals. From the success of the scheme so far, we can see that there is a real benefit to treating people at home where possible.

“We know that frail patients tend to occupy hospital beds for a longer period of time and that is why we are expanding the scheme. In reducing the number of prolonged hospital stays, we will free up more hospital beds.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf with lead advanced nurse practitioner Louise Kirby as she packs a treatment bag ahead of a home visit. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

“With additional funding, all health boards can apply for money to either develop or expand their services with the aim of doubling the capacity of Hospital at Home by the end of this year.”

Evidence shows that those benefitting from the service are more likely to avoid hospital or care home stays for up to six months after a period of acute illness.

For older patients, it means being able to stay at home longer without losing their independence. It also helps alleviate pressure on hospital beds.

Dr Sarah Henderson, Consultant Geriatrician for NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home Team, said: “Developing this important service has enabled us to provide the same high standard of clinical care and treatment patients would receive in hospital without the need for them to leave their own home.

“We know from feedback how much local patients have valued being able to stay in familiar, comfortable surroundings without the anxiety and disruption often associated with an admission to hospital. This is also less stressful for family and friends who know that their loved one is getting all the medical care and attention they require at home.”

Doreen Scotland from Bo’ness received care and treatment from the Hospital at Home team for four weeks for cardiac and respiratory related illnesses in March 2022.

She said: “It was much better than having to go to hospital as although the nurses in the Acute Assessment Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are great there are no windows in the Unit and I have a fantastic view from my own house.

“Being treated at home meant I could use my toilet, sleep in my own bed and have a cup of coffee whenever I wanted one. It made a big difference to me and my husband and I had all the tests and treatment I required without having to go into hospital.”