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Supporting care homes: Improving the safety and experience of residents

Supporting care homes: Including the safety and experience of residents. Includes image of laughing older woman with older man in background, both seated

The multi-award-winning Good Hydration! project encouraged residents to drink more fluids by introducing structured drinks rounds seven times a day. It was delivered in partnership with NHS and social care. Easy-to-use resources were produced with care home staff and residents.

It led to a sustained reduction in urinary tract infections (UTIs) among residents from an average of one every nine days to one every 80 days. UTIs, which are closely associated with dehydration, can lead to confusion, falls and acute kidney injury.

Other key results included:

  • UTI hospital admissions down by 36% in four initial care homes
  • UTIs requiring antibiotic medication down by 58%

The initiative won a number of awards including the Quality Improvement Initiative of the Year prize at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2018. In the same year it also won a NICE Shared Learning Award. A paper was published on the BMJ Open Quality website. The project was led by Sundus Jawad from Frimley Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Katie Lean from the Oxford HIN. Katie spoke about it at a TEDxNHS session called ‘A Thirst for Change’ in 2023.

Currently, we are helping community outreach teams at Frimley ICB working with care homes to develop and implement the national pathway for lower limb wound management. Previously, we initiated a support and sharing network for professionals working with care homes and their residents who are living with dementia. Focus areas included depression in older people, training with dementia simulation suits, assessing pain and behaviour issues. Wider improvement projects included oral health and developing ‘dementia champions’.

We have also helped care homes get the right care to residents when they take a turn for the worse. More than 500 care home staff from across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes completed online training which we delivered. Around eight out of ten staff surveyed reflected that the ‘RESTORE2’ training enhanced their confidence.

‘New name … same aim: Building on a decade of health innovation’