Implementation of a Revised Interim Home Support Protocol for Older Persons in the South
The local Winter Capacity Initiative (WCI) Group was established to integrate community and acute services to improve discharge. The provision of interim home care packages (iHCP) commenced in conjunction with the rollout of the national HSE Home Care Package (HCP) Guidelines and as part of the local WCI plan to aid discharge. This project was established to deal with operational issues encountered relating to discharges supported by iHCP. Its aim was to implement a clear protocol for older persons to be discharged home safely from four acute sites using up to 10 hours interim home support. The HSE Change Model underpinned the implementation. In addition to the protocol a number of additional outcomes were delivered, e.g. referral criteria. The improved protocol was launched by e-mail to relevant line managers for dissemination to their staff and through some direct communication with key stakeholders. Following implementation, the project was evaluated using semi-structured interviews to determine the level of awareness of the protocol and the quality of the outcomes. The aim of the project was met. A streamlined protocol, covering leave periods; clear referral criteria; a multipurpose assessment form; and a new way of disseminating discharge information, were delivered. No trends relating to the allocation of interim home support at any specific times of the year were identified. The recommendations included continued use of the protocol, and further direct communication with front line staff at team meetings regarding the protocol to increase awareness and adherence to the protocol.