Imagine this is a ‘low rent’ version of QI. Pause for 5 seconds and tell me, which is the odd one out? (there’s even a picture to help you)
- Open Data.
- Age UK Cheshire.
- Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
- A Dementia Advisor.
The answer is….. None.
None of these four things is the odd one out (it is a trick question).
In fact they have all combined beautifully to provide an excellent example of connected care.
- The NHS in the Cheshire area share certain patient information with some carefully chosen partners.
- One of these is Age UK Cheshire, a charity committed to making later life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for all older people in Cheshire.
- Age UK Cheshire take the NHS data and combine it with other open data sources. This allows them to identify the older people in Cheshire who might benefit from the valuable services they offer.
- They then direct their scarce resources towards the people where they can do most good, with things like; falls prevention, health and wellbeing support and dementia advice.
- Evidence from other intervention activities like this shows that it is highly effective way of helping people remain active and independent in their own homes, rather than languishing in hospital wards. Prevention is much better than treating symptoms.
Bring on the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. This is where it gets even better.
Back in 2008 I heard someone from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service talk about the work they were doing with the NHS and Local Government to share data and work together to support local communities. He mentioned things like ‘Flu and Fire’ events where the NHS were using local fire stations to hold flu immunisation clinics.
One of the initiatives was around home fire prevention visits where the Fire Personnel were providing health and welling advice to older people in addition to the ‘where to put the smoke alarm’ advice.
It turned out that older people (probably a lot more if you ask me) were far more willing to let someone from the fire service into their house, and listen to what they had to say, than someone from the local ‘care’ sector. Fire fighters (in my experience) are hugely respected, trusted and in many cases cherished by people and local communities. Why not use this privileged position to help older people in those same communities?
Have a read about the work of SPRINGBOARD (Starting a Proactive Response, Introducing New Gains, Benefiting Older-people and Reducing Dependency) which details the incredible work Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have been doing with Age UK Cheshire.
What about the Dementia Advisor? If you what a bit more evidence of incredible joint working, have a look at this job advert. It is for a Dementia Advisor employed jointly between the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Age UK Cheshire.
Definitely no odd one out amongst this four. If you had asked me to think of organisations that might work together around dementia I would never have thought of this combination.
Things have come a very long way from some attempts to improve data sharing (open data wasn’t a phrase much used in public services then) back in 2008.
I’ve plenty more I would like to find out about what is happening in Cheshire, hopefully there will be more posts to share about this over the next few months. This is just an early post to help maintain the momentum following the Connected Care Camp. It is well worth looking at Shirley Ayres blog and #psicare on Twitter to see what others are writing.
Thank you to Ken Clemens the CEO of the ‘surprising’ Age UK Cheshire for talking to me about this.
So, what’s the PONT?
- Prevention is a much better way of delivering public services that treating the symptoms.
- Some public services are highly trusted and cherished by the community. Why not build upon this trust to provide even more help?
- Sharing data can have incredible unforeseen consequences. Imagine what fully Open Data could do?
Picture Source: Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Age UK Cheshire websites
Open Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Data_stickers.jpg
Fire Personnel. Fireman Sam of course. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/sites/children/images/fireman-sam_01_446.jpg