‘Home First’ DTOC scheme up for major award

Published: Thursday 12th September 2019

Agincare’s ‘Home First’ innovative approach to reducing delayed transfers of care (DTOC) has been chosen as a finalist in the prestigious LaingBuisson Awards, which recognise and celebrate industry excellence and innovative services in the public, private and third sectors.

The Dorset-based independent care provider has worked with 10 NHS Foundation Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups, and local authorities over the past year to reduce pressure on hospitals, especially over the busy winter period, and help people return home promptly after a hospital stay.

The 'Home First' team - working to reduce DTOC
The ‘Home First’ team

A care worker from Agincare provides intense support for a patient in their home for a short period once they’re medically fit to be discharged. This professional and reliable care gives clinicians peace of mind, knowing that patients are discharged into safe hands. And hospitals are able to free up acute and community beds to others in need, with less likelihood of people needing to return onto a ward.

Last winter ‘Home First’ supported 156 patients across 10 schemes, delivering between 200 and 1000 hours of care a week. A total of 2,500 people were discharged or didn’t need to be admitted to hospital, saving 33,000 bed days and in the region of £10 million. And 82% of customers rated the service as ‘excellent’, and 18% as ‘good’.

Agincare’s Partnerships and Projects Director, Martin Ross, said:

“We’re proud that our ‘Home First’ service has been short-listed in the Public-Private Partnership category of the LaingBuisson Awards. We’ve worked incredibly hard to design a solution that reduces pressures on the public sector through flexible contracts and packages of care. Our service was a finalist in this category in both 2017 and 2018, and with even more evidence of the massive difference ‘Home First’ can make, we’re hoping it’s third time lucky this year!

“The great benefit of ‘Home First’ is that we can respond extremely quickly, deploying our specialised care workers into any location, no matter how rural, and filling gaps in existing provision. And as demands on their services change, our partners can swiftly increase or decrease capacity. It’s a testament to the quality of our service and care that our 10 original contracts – originally commissioned as short-term winter pressure schemes – have all transferred into longer-term sustainable partnerships. Two new schemes started in July, and we’re planning a further 5-10 to start this winter.

“Often we deploy a senior member of the Agincare team to work alongside a hospital discharge team and adult social care brokerage team. This on-the-ground presence means we fully understand a situation, get to know colleagues well, and makes for a smoother and more person-centred process. Because after all, it’s about supporting people to live their lives.”

It’s not the first time ‘Home First’ has been recognised as leading the way in reducing pressure on the public sector. Earlier this year the scheme won a Recognition Award for partnership working from the Royal Bournemouth NHS Foundation Trust. And in 2018, Agincare’s work won the Best Partners in Care award from the Solent NHS/Portsmouth NHS Foundation Trust.

The winners of the LaingBuisson Awards will be announced on 13 November.