Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership is always keen to empower colleagues to develop good ideas supporting our vision for a positive lifetime of health, wellbeing and care in our community. Here, we profile an emerging new initiative which seeks to enable better and more joined-up care for thousands of people in Northamptonshire. We will keep you updated on progress with the initiative on this website and in future editions of our Partnership Update newsletter – as well as bringing you news of other innovative ideas from around our health and care community.

Gabriella O’Keeffe

A new innovation being developed in our county aims to improve outcomes for frail older people and those requiring long-term care – by giving health and care professionals instant access to information about their needs.

Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership’s yellow bracelet scheme is believed to be the first such initiative in the country and is the brainchild of Gabriella O’Keeffe, head of quality transformation for Northamptonshire CCGs.

It is being developed for the thousands of people in our county who access domiciliary care (help with personal care and everyday household tasks) at home.

The scheme proposes to give each of these patients their own yellow bracelets with a QR code which can be scanned by authorised personnel using a speciallydesigned app. This would give them instant access to data about the patient’s domiciliary care package, their personal needs and the support they have available at home.

Data collected in 2016 showed that of the 4,600-plus people receiving domiciliary care in our county at that time, around a third had to be taken to hospital by ambulance in the space of just nine months.

By giving health and care staff a means to quickly assess their patients’ needs, Gabriella believes the yellow bracelets can prevent unnecessary hospital attendances and admissions – and help vulnerable people maintain their independence at home for longer.

“The yellow bracelets will give health and care professionals instant access to information about patients’ individual circumstances, and this could be hugely valuable to ensure they receive the right care in the right place,” says Gabriella.

Prototypes of the yellow bracelet

“When a patient is clearly vulnerable and it’s not immediately clear what support they have available at home, hospital can sometimes be the only option as a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach. But it isn’t necessarily the best place for that person.

“The yellow bracelets will allow ambulance crews to easily see what support the patient has in place as part of their domiciliary care package – and enable them to contact the care provider to ask questions, if necessary. If a trip to hospital is required, the same information will be available to support decisions about whether or not they need to be admitted. By providing that reassurance, we hope the scheme can prevent unnecessary hospital stays.”

As well as making them available to ambulance personnel and hospital staff, yellow bracelet data can also be accessible to GPs and social care providers to support more joined-up care and better outcomes for patients.

The project is being developed with technology firm Sundown Solutions. Working with Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership organisations and domiciliary care providers – and in line with data protection requirements – relevant patient information will be added to the yellow bracelet system. The initiative will then be tested with users before going live at a later date.