A major new report has called for the government to adopt a greater focus on clinical home care.
Leading figures in the healthcare sector have joined forces to carry out an inquiry, supported by Healthcare at Home, which claims that both patients and the NHS would benefit from taking this approach.
The report classes clinical home care as integrated care, treatment and support that takes place in a person's home or place of residence, such as a care home.
Christine Outram, chair of the expert panel that carried out the inquiry, stated: "Clinical home care is a care strategy I feel very passionate about. During my career in the NHS, I have seen the value it delivers to cancer patients and their families."
Jacqui Graves, head of health and social care at Macmillan Cancer Support, added: "The benefits of this kind of service go well beyond the individual and their family, extending to reduced A&E and hospital admissions."
The report claims a greater focus on home care would deliver a number of benefits for patients, such as faster recovery, superior quality of life and and a reduction in hospital readmissions.
In addition, it says the healthcare system would see reduced pressure on hospital beds, faster waiting times and a general boost to the patient experience, which would have a positive knock-on effect for staff.
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust was highlighted as an example of one organisation that has already benefited from this approach, using the capacity released by its virtual ward to invest in specialist services and support its move to become a regional trauma centre.
From a carer's perspective, the recommendations made in the report would likely lead to an increase in the number of care home residents receiving medical visits at home rather than needing to be taken to hospital.
Find the nearest Barchester care home.