Compassionate communities see huge fall in hospital admissions

| 10th October 2018
People holding hands
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Compassionate Communities programme prompts fourteen percent reduction in emergency admission to hospital in Frome, Somerset.

Being kind and compassionate is now more than a good idea. It is something we must do if we are to help solve the increasing healthcare crisis of the last 25 years.

A programme of 'Compassionate Communities' in Frome combined with changing the way the general practice provides care for patients and families has dramatically reduced emergency admissions to hospital, according to a new peer reviewed paper.

The report, Reducing emergency hospital admissions:  A population health complex intervention of an enhanced model of primary care and compassionate communities was published in the British Journal of General Practice on 9 October and "opened the door to a new field in medicine". The Resurgence & Ecologist magazine was the first with the story
Friendship and kindness

Dr Julian Abel, lead author and Director of Compassionate Communities UK, who has been working with the Frome Team since 2016 said: “The number of emergency admissions in England increased by 42 percent between 2006/7 and 2017/8. The project in Frome started in 2014 and since then, emergency admissions have fallen by 14 percent across the whole population.

"This is the first time over the last 25 years that we have found a way of reducing the total emergency admissions to hospital. This is the biggest single challenge to the NHS and until now, there has not been a solution to the ever increasing influx."

The enormous resources of friendship and kindness in the community make a big difference to quality in people’s lives. Working with communities helps to lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation that many of us, from young to old, experience.

Dr Abel said that if people are going to be given the best and most effective care, compassionate communities must be a part of the routine clinical consultation.

This has two major components, working to enhance people’s individual supportive network and making best use of the resources that exist in communities. 

Broader implementation 

Dr Abel said: “This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Kindness and compassion have an enormous impact on our health and well being.

"Being kind and compassionate is now more than a good idea. It is something we must do if we are to help solve the increasing healthcare crisis of the last 25 years."

The results suggest that 30 percent of people in hospital are there not because they need more or better medication, but because they have become disconnected from the social world around them.

Through the broader implementation of this model in England, potential savings to the NHS could be over seven billion pounds.

This Author 

Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Compassionate Communities UK. 

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