Care homes and relationship-based care

10 July 2020

In a recent blog post my colleagues from across Wales set out some of the excellent resources provided by the RCGP to assist GPs in continuing to best support care home patients throughout the pandemic.

Many practices across the South West Wales Faculty region look after large numbers of care home patients, and GPs in our region, along with the rest of the UK, will have been working extremely hard to support them during the first wave of the pandemic.

My own practice is no different and while we have had to rapidly embrace new ways of working, it is our strong existing relationship with care home staff and patients that has underpinned our ability to care for our care home residents effectively.

Continuity of care

UK general practice, as we all know, is built upon long term relationships with patients, and this is clearly underpinned by a strong evidence base for improved outcomes with better continuity of care.

This includes reduced hospital admissions and reduced mortality.

I was reflecting this week on how many of our local nursing home residents had previously lived independently in the local community and got to know myself and my partners over many years.

We are allowed in many cases to slowly build detailed knowledge of their lives, including meeting their families.

This is one of the great and unique privileges of working as a GP and allows us to ensure our patients have good outcomes including high-quality and well-planned palliative care.

Relationship-based care

While issues relating to access to services, including video consulting, seem to dominate the political agenda, the RCGP continues to campaign for preservation of the unique service we offer.

A clear message from our RCGP Chair on the need to preserve relationship-based care continues to the fore.

I would like to echo this message to all GP colleagues across Wales.

We understand that the value created by the service we offer is not easily measured and occurs slowly.

It does not lend itself to some of the more headline grabbing initiatives in hospital medicine.

However, myself and colleagues in the RCGP will continue to campaign for the preservation of relationship-based care.

We understand this includes ensuring you have the time and space to deliver this effectively.

We are united in the belief that this will best protect our patients in the future, particularly those who live in care homes.  

Post written by

Dr Will Mackintosh, Chair of RCGP South West Wales Faculty

Dr Will Mackintosh is a GP partner at the Coach and Horses Surgery in St Clears, Carmarthenshire. He is the Chair of RCGP South West Wales RCGP Faculty and Foundation Programme Director for Carmarthenshire.  

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