The number of residents supported in residential or nursing homes has been in decline, this despite the growing population of people aged 65+, especially those over 85 years. This means that a growing population of the most vulnerable older people will be living independently.
The current system of health and social care is continuously challenged and struggles to meet the urgent care needs of older people. All too often the default position is for frail older people is to be taken to the Emergency Department (ED), with a high probability of being admitted to hospital.
The coordination of services to care for older people safely in the community can often be overlooked if this is clinically appropriate. A consistent 24/7 urgent care response is important.
The Cornwall Ambulance Service Urgent Community Response Service provides staff that are expert in delivering an urgent response, 24hrs a day, across the whole county.
Using response cars which are staffed by highly experienced clinicians the service ensures people in crisis are afforded the highest priority response and ensures high quality clinical support can be delivered to people in their own homes across the county, within two hours of the call for help being made.
By being able to immediately assess a person’s health concerns, injuries or underlying illness, the Urgent Community Response Service will rapidly identify the nature of the problem and start to implement a management plan, with a strong emphasis on keeping people safe, well and independent at home.
In most cases, whilst addressing health needs there is an obvious need for further community and social assistance. Respect for the autonomy and dignity of the older person will underpin the Cornwall Ambulance Service’s approach and practice at all times. All older people have the right to a health and social care assessment and should have access to treatments and care based on need, without an age-defined restriction to services.
The unique skills of the clinicians responding to these patients enables them to manage the patient holistically, making timely contact with services to initiate the right care in the right place at the right time.