HomeFirst – transforming intermediate care

HomeFirst is the name of our intermediate care transformation programme. The changes being made will mean we are able to deliver better care and support for people who access intermediate care services in Leeds.

What is intermediate care?

Intermediate care is a collective term for a group of services, designed to provide short-term help for adults, who need continuing support once they have been discharged from hospital. They aim to improve recovery and increase independence.

If you work in Leeds health and care, or have been a hospital patient, you may know them as Neighbourhood Teams, SkILs (Skills for Independent Living) Reablement, Rehabilitation and Recovery Beds, and Home Ward (or Virtual Ward).

Why are changes being made to intermediate care services in Leeds?

Every day in Leeds, thousands of people receive great care and support from dedicated health and care staff, volunteers, and from carers. But we know we could do even better for people. Too many people spend more time in hospital than they need to, and more people could remain independent for longer with different support.

In Autumn 2022 partners in health and social care completed a review of our health and care services in Leeds. We asked if we are achieving the best possible results for people, whether they receive the right care in the right place at the right time, and if we are helping them to live as independently as possible. Whilst we found that most people do get great results and great care, we also saw opportunities to make changes that will enable to support people even better.

Once fully implemented, we estimate the changes will benefit over 3,000 people a year.

How does HomeFirst work?

We are working in partnership with a range of different organisations that offer health and care services in Leeds. This includes Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Primary Care and the GP Confederation, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, and charity and voluntary sector organisations.

We are now planning how we will make changes to our services. We will involve people in Leeds and listen to what they want from our health and care services.

We aim to have finished making improvements to services by November 2024.

What changes are being made?

The overall vision for the programme is to enable a sustainable, person-centred, home-first model of intermediate care across Leeds that is joined up and promotes independence.

In essence, we want more people to be able stay at home and receive care, or return home sooner, rather than staying in hospital – but only when it is medically safe for them to do so. We know this helps improve the chances of people having a better recovery and improving their health outcomes.

When are the changes being made?

The great news is that we have already made significant progress in implementing changes, and already we are seeing amazing results in areas where the changes have been made.

Over the 2023/24 Winter period – which is traditionally the busiest period for health and care services – we saw a big drop in the number of people being admitted to hospital, a big reduction in people waiting to be discharged from hospital, and more people being able to return to their homes safely sooner, instead of having to stay in a health care setting.

These outcomes show that our changes are working, which is fantastic. But we need to continue with our methodical approach to wider implementation. This means we need to be iterative, learning from what is and isn’t working, and striving to achieve more. We need to ensure our staff are fully prepared for the changes before they are implemented within the services they work. And most importantly, we need to ensure that we continue delivering high-quality intermediate care for all patients who need it, whilst these changes are being implemented.

We will continue driving forward our ambitious changes throughout the rest of 2024. If you work in intermediate care services, and you have yet to go through the changes, we will be in touch when it is time to start preparing your services for change.

If you are a patient, please be assured that you do not need to do anything different, our wonderful health and care staff will ensure that you access high-level care throughout this period of change and beyond.

Which organisations are involved in the changes?

The HomeFirst programme is a truly collaborative undertaking, which when fully implemented will see staff and teams in intermediate care working better together. The changes are being delivered by Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Primary Care and the GP Confederation, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, and charity and voluntary sector organisations.

Can I find out more?

Yes. If you work in intermediate care in Leeds, and you want more information about how these changes will affect you and your service, we recommend speaking to your line manager. We are working hard with all managers to provide them with the latest information.

Alternatively, send us an email to: [email protected] and someone from the programme team will be in touch to respond to your question or comment.

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