A nurse who leads a community care service for elderly people with long-term conditions has won the Royal College of Nursing’s Frontline First Innovation Award.
Marina Lupari’s new model of community nursing in Northern Ireland has greatly reduced unplanned hospital admissions among older people and saved the NHS more than £400,000 over the last nine months.
She beat 300 other nominees to win the award at a ceremony in London, receiving funds to aid the development of the project in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
Under the scheme, a chronic illness case management service was set up, with 16 full-time nurses recruited to deliver specialist care for patients with serious respiratory problems, heart failure and diabetic conditions.
Nurses were given extra education and support to work with high-risk older people in their own homes to manage their multiple chronic conditions.
Under a controlled trial with half of service users receiving usual care and the other half intervention by the new service, bed days were reduced by 59% in the latter group. Patients also reported feeling better and said that support from the service allowed them to function better.
The difference in average cost per patient was also £1,493 lower for those who received the service, representing a total saving of more than £400,000 across the nine month follow up period.
Ms Lupari said: “It’s about working out when patients are showing the early signs of being sick and then giving them the tools to help rectify the problems.”
Second place went to Carol Gill, a nurse at Bradford and Airedale Community Health Services, who developed an early warning system to prevent elderly patients in care homes from getting pressures sores.
NHS Wakefield district community drug treatment team claimed third place for developing both a drop-in clinic and outreach services, aimed at improving the health of substance misusers.