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The health and wellbeing of elderly residents is at the forefront of a three-year strategy designed to maintain residents' independence for as long as possible.

The Richmond Better Care Closer to Home Strategy 2014-17 is designed to make sure residents get the right care at the right time and avoid the need to be admitted into hospital unless absolutely necessary.

To achieve these goals the health and social care services individuals receive will be joined up to suit their specific needs. Care packages will focus on helping them stay healthy, get better, prevent relapses and get on with their normal lives. At the heart of the strategy is an ethos of early intervention and prevention of illnesses and for residents to be admitted to hospital only for as long as is clinically necessary.

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr Christine Percival, said:  "No resident should be passed from pillar to post within Richmond's Health Care services which tragically is the case elsewhere. Here in Richmond residents will live within the community and maintain their lifestyles whenever possible without the need for long-term hospital care. We will intervene as early as possible to achieve these important aims and we will do everything in our power to get residents out of hospital as quickly as we can."

Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group Chair, Andrew Smith said:  "A visit to hospital can be stressful, especially for the frail elderly so offering care outside a hospital setting is often preferable. Linking health and social care services means less disruption for both patients and their carers. It puts the patient at the centre of their care and will support easier access to a wide range of services close to people's homes.  It will help patients access more services, especially those with long term conditions."

The main aims of the strategy are to provide early intervention and prevention, keeping people healthy, connected to their communities, preventing ill health and reducing health inequalities to reduce demand on services focussing particularly on the frail and elderly. This means health professionals will find opportunities to talk to people about their lifestyles including diet, physical activity, smoking and drinking habits and wider issues determining health and wellbeing such as housing and social isolation. 

Provide easy access to high quality, responsive primary care to make local community care the first point of call for people. GPs and primary care teams will be at the heart of ensuring everyone who provides care does so to consistently high standards and integrates its work with all other health care professionals. The aim is also to prevent unplanned hospital admission or A&E attendance and facilitate early supported discharge so that fewer people need to access hospital care.  This will be achieved by providing an urgent clinical response within two hours and managing the discharge from hospital into supportive out of hospital care.

Social and healthcare providers will work together and place residents at the centre of care plans. Long-term conditions and end of life care will be provided within communities if possible. People will have a named coordinator who will make sure they have all the services they need.