HomeFirst launches in North Hertfordshire

HomeFirst launches in North Hertfordshire

A new rapid response service to help people stay well and independent comes to north Hertfordshire from 22 July 2014.

HomeFirst will support older people and others with long term or complex conditions to remain at home rather than going into hospital or residential care. Many people prefer to be supported in their own homes, close to friends or family carers, where it is easier to get back into familiar routines and an independent lifestyle once their medical crisis has eased.

HomeFirst brings together health and social care services to deliver:

  • improved access to rapid support with care from the right professional
  • better communication between people using services and health and social care professionals working as part of the same team
  • reduced accident and emergency attendance and unplanned hospital admission or residential care
  • rapid discharge from acute hospital

The scheme has been planned and paid for by East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Hertfordshire County Council. HomeFirst teams are made up of a partnership of health professionals from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and county council social care workers.

The new service in north Hertfordshire builds on a HomeFirst scheme in the Lower Lea Valley area which has been running since November 2012 with excellent feedback from staff, GPs and people using the service. HomeFirst’s operation has also coincided with significant savings locally on emergency hospital services against the forecast spending levels.

The daughter of a patient using the service said: “When mum came out of hospital she couldn’t look after herself. She was on a lot of medication, strong painkillers and she wasn't steady on her feet. Having HomeFirst has been brilliant. It gave us peace of mind and the confidence that mum was going to be okay.”

Dr Nicky Williams, acting chair of East and North Hertfordshire CCG, said: “Integrating health and social care services makes sense for patients and by bringing our budgets together we can make the best use of every penny.

“Extending the successful HomeFirst scheme will help us achieve our aim of enabling more people to live happily, healthily and independently in the community.”

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe, chairman of the Hertfordshire Health and Well Being Board and the county council’s cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “HomeFirst makes a real difference to people’s lives, bringing health and social care together and shaping services around people’s individual needs to help them stay independent.”