A community health team from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has helped care home staff to give better health care to their residents. The Integrated Care Home Training Team began work in April 2017. In the first 12 months they have trained 631 care home staff in avoiding pressure ulcers, falls prevention, speech and language therapy, and continence. Their influence is likely to be felt by many thousands of residents.

Team leader Sue Swanson said: “We have an ageing population, and this is one way of keeping people in their familiar environment whenever possible. If we can put in that support and training for carers, it will help maintain the residents’ independence for as long as possible, and help them to age well. “Feedback has been very positive, lots of care staff have asked if we can put on more training or come back every year.”

Around one in three adults over 65 will have at least one fall a year. Sue Swanson said: “A fall doesn’t necessarily mean a hospital admission, but it debilitates the resident, increases anxiety and can make them more socially isolated.” Most of the training is carried out in care homes to help maximise the number of staff reached. Training is tailored to the need of the care home but generally is delivered in one to two-hour sessions. The team consists of specialists in tissue viability, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and a continence nurse, who work across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

They are accepting referrals from LPT colleagues, from the care homes themselves, and from social care professionals. The team’s work builds on an award-winning project focussing on tissue viability (preventing pressure ulcers), which worked mainly with residential homes and nursing homes in West Leicestershire. It reduced the number of care home residents suffering pressure ulcers from 34 a month to three a month.