Finding an older peoples’ care home in Kirklees with availability is now easier thanks to an online tracking tool.

The Care Home Capacity Tracker was introduced in Kirklees in July 2018 by Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs and Kirklees Council, supported by NHS England. It is a web based system which enables care homes to share their available capacity in real time and allows registered health and care professionals to search for care home availability.

The introduction of the tool has meant that social services no longer have to ring care homes on a daily basis to log where beds are available. The hours saved have helped older people to leave hospital sooner. The system helps users to identify suitable care homes which meet patient need. Beds can be searched for by location, by type such as general nursing, and by need such as end of life care.

The tool is used by social workers, hospital discharge teams, and community nurses and trusted assessors at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Pinderfields and Dewsbury Hospitals.  These teams aim to prevent unnecessary admission to hospital, and support timely and effective discharges from hospital to a suitable care home.

Helen Severns, Service Director for Integrated Commissioning, Kirklees Council, Greater Huddersfield CCG and North Kirklees CCG said: “It’s really important that people receive the care they need in the right place. The Care Home Capacity Tracker is essential in helping health and care professionals to do this effectively. The real-time system was particularly useful during winter when there was a higher demand for care home places.”

The system can also be accessed via a hand held device. This supports health professionals to have conversations with patients and their carer or relatives on a hospital ward, using accurate, up to date information to support them with their decision.

The online tool is available across England. Kirklees is one of the first areas in West Yorkshire to have all 72 older people’s care homes, including privately owned, registered and updating the online tool. Care homes across Calderdale and Wakefield are also using the same system.

Debra Whitehead, Manager of Meadow Court care home, Slaithwaite said: “We know that choosing a care home can be a stressful time for people and their families. We have given information about the rooms and our facilities at Meadow Court on the tracker to help people decide. It also helps those who don’t have time to visit us as part of their decision making to have a better idea about where they are coming to. We review our information weekly and update every time a place becomes available.”