A further £3.6 million has been made available to support the expansion of the Scottish Government’s Hospital at Home scheme.
It is hoped the new funding will help the service – which aims to reduce hospital admissions for elderly patients by providing treatment in their own homes – double its current capacity.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the move on a visit to NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home service on Thursday.
Patients using the service are able to receive treatments such as oxygen supply or intravenous drips without hospital admission.
Access to hospital tests under the care of a consultant is also available.
The Scottish Government said evidence shows that those benefitting from the service are more likely to avoid stays in hospital or care homes for up to six months after a period of acute illness, leading to increased independence and therefore improved patient satisfaction.
It also ensures pressure on hospital beds is alleviated at a time when Scotland is experiencing delayed discharges across its medical sites.
Mr Yousaf said: “Hospital at Home is one of the many ways we are providing more care in the community and reducing pressure on hospitals.
“From the success of the scheme so far, we can see that there is a real benefit to treating people at home where possible.
“We know that frail patients tend to occupy hospital beds for a longer period of time and that is why we are expanding the scheme. In reducing the number of prolonged hospital stays, we will free up more hospital beds.
“With additional funding, all health boards can apply for money to either develop or expand their services, with the aim of doubling the capacity of Hospital at Home by the end of this year.”
Dr Sarah Henderson, consultant geriatrician for NHS Forth Valley’s Hospital at Home team, added: “Developing this important service has enabled us to provide the same high standard of clinical care and treatment patients would receive in hospital without the need for them to leave their own home.
“We know from feedback how much local patients have valued being able to stay in familiar, comfortable surroundings without the anxiety and disruption often associated with an admission to hospital.
“This is also less stressful for family and friends, who know that their loved one is getting all the medical care and attention they require at home.”
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