Charity support helps children patch up at home

27 January 2021

Charity support helps children patch up at home
With rising hospital admissions and a limited number of beds, winter is always a tough time for the NHS.

That’s why Imperial Health Charity has funded a vital pilot project to help children get the care they need from the comfort of their home, freeing up space for those with more serious conditions.

Our £100,000 grant helped set up the Providing Assessment and Treatment for Children at Home (PATCH) project, allowing young people who don't have a serious illness to connect with hospital staff through home visits, telephone calls and video conferencing.

"The charity has really allowed us to show what we can do through this project."

Joanna Turner, LEAD PATCH Nurse

Joanna Turner, Lead PATCH Nurse at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The children are easier to assess at home where they’re happier and more relaxed. The charity has really allowed us to show what we can do through this project.”

Through the initiative, hospital doctors and GPs can refer young patients with moderate conditions who could benefit from home treatment to the PATCH nurses. The project can help treat up to 1,000 patients each year, reducing admissions as well as the length of stay for patients.

Unplanned re-attendances within three days for the same condition have also dropped from 8% to 3%.

This innovative project has also allowed parents to take the time to learn basic healthcare skills away from the stressful environment of a hospital. In a survey, 100% of parents said they now felt more confident managing their children’s mild illness at home.

This year the team has developed a nurse-led early jaundice pathway where the midwives can refer early jaundice reviews straight to the team instead of into paediatric A&E.

When Covid-19 hit this year, the team had to think on their feet to ensure children received the best care possible while minimising the risk for them and their families.

Working closely with local community nurses, the team provided enhanced and safe care through collaboration, making sure the right person cared for children at the right time.

"Through this, we’ve been able to create opportunities for some of our nurses to develop new skills."

Dr Francesca Cleugh, Head of Speciality Paediatric Emergency Medicine

PATCH also offers NHS staff flexibility across services as well as the chance to develop their careers.

Dr Francesca Cleugh, Head of Speciality Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the Trust, said: “Through this we’ve been able to create opportunities for some of our nurses to develop new skills such as advanced assessment skills.”

After a successful four years funded by the charity, the PATCH project is now fully embedded within the Paediatric Emergency Department and Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) pathways for children. PATCH continues to work with teams across the north west London integrated care system to ensure sustained delivery of this model of care across the sector going forward.

The PATCH project is just one example of how our funding is making a big difference in our hospitals. To find out more about our grants programme, click here.