Community hospitals and their services

The National Institute for Health Research has published Community hospitals and their services in the NHS: identifying transferable learning from international developments, scoping review, systematic review, country reports and case studies.

This study set out to understand better the role of different models of community hospital provision within the wider health economy and learn from experiences of other countries in order to inform the future development of community hospitals in England.

It concludes that at a time when emphasis is being placed on integrated and community-based care, community hospitals have the potential to assume a more strategic role in health-care delivery locally, providing care closer to people’s homes.

Related: Community hospitals: a traditional solution to help today’s NHS? | HSJ

Being mindful of mental health: The role of local government in mental health and wellbeing

This report explores how councils influence the mental wellbeing of our communities and how council services, from social care to parks to open spaces to education to housing, help to make up the fabric of mental health support for the people in our communities | LGA

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Image source: LGA

This report explores how councils influence the mental wellbeing of our communities and how council services, from social care to parks to open spaces to education to housing, help to make up the fabric of mental health support for the people in our communities. Many of our partner organisations have kindly contributed their view of the role of local government in mental health.

The World Health Organisation describes mental health as ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’. Good mental health is essential for a healthy and prosperous society. However, it is easy to focus on what happens when a person becomes mentally ill, and how the health service intervenes, rather than how to keep our communities mentally well in the first place, preventing mental health issues arising, intervening early if problems do start surfacing, and helping people manage their lives going forward. This is where councils play a fundamental role in the mental health and wellbeing of the population.

Does home-based primary care improve patient outcomes?

An Overview Of Home-Based Primary Care: Learning From The Field | Commonwealth Fund

This Commonwealth Fund briefing synthesises the evidence and expert perspectives on how outcomes and costs are affected by utilising home-based primary care for housebound or functionally-limited patients. It finds that successful home-based primary care uses multidisciplinary teams, behavioural insights, social support and rapid response to acute care needs to reduce care costs and improve patient outcomes.

The briefing concludes that successful home-based care practices have achieved robust savings, but the future of the model will rely on innovative payment models and training initiatives.

Support for people with a learning disability

The Public Accounts Committee report, Local support for people with a learning disability, says greater focus is needed on measuring outcomes and improvements to quality of life.

Two years ago, the previous Committee of Public Accounts reported on the Department of Health’s efforts to move people with a learning disability out of mental health hospitals and into the community. At that time, the Committee found that progress had been poor but was promised improvements.

This follow up report finds the Transforming Care programme has moved some people out of hospital, however more needs to be done to address known barriers.  There is also concern that support for people with a learning disability who live in the community is patchy.

Social prescribing: less rhetoric and more reality

Bickerdike, L. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e013384.

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Objectives: Social prescribing is a way of linking patients in primary care with sources of support within the community to help improve their health and well-being. Social prescribing programmes are being widely promoted and adopted in the UK National Health Service and so we conducted a systematic review to assess the evidence for their effectiveness.

Conclusions: Social prescribing is being widely advocated and implemented but current evidence fails to provide sufficient detail to judge either success or value for money. If social prescribing is to realise its potential, future evaluations must be comparative by design and consider when, by whom, for whom, how well and at what cost.

Read the full article here

Interventions for single parents should also recognise the needs of lone fathers

Chiu, M. et al. (2017) Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 71(5) pp. 417-423

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Background: Lone parenthood is associated with poorer health; however, the vast majority of previous studies have examined lone mothers and only a few have focused on lone fathers. We aimed to examine the self-rated health and mental health status among a large population-based cross-sectional sample of Canadian lone fathers compared with both partnered fathers and lone mothers.

Conclusions: In this large population-based study, lone fathers had worse self-rated health and mental health than partnered fathers and similarly poor self-rated health and mental health as lone mothers. Interventions, supports and social policies designed for single parents should also recognise the needs of lone fathers.

Read the full article here

Transition from children’s to adult community services

New online learning resource for Community Nurses | The Queens Nursing Institute

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has launched Transition from Children’s to Adult Community Services Learning Resource.

The resource is designed to improve the experience of young people transitioning from children’s services to adult community services.  It contains modules for district nurses, general practice nurses and healthcare educators. To produce the resource, the QNI held ten focus groups in different parts of the country and conducted three online surveys, as well as undertaking wider stakeholder involvement. In all, the views of around 900 people were used to inform the resource.

The QNI also carried out a review of academic literature in this area, which can be downloaded:  Young people’s transition from children’s to adult services in primary and community care settings.