Neighbourhood care teams are a specific example of integrated care.
These are usually local teams comprising health and social care professionals, sometimes supported by housing professionals or the voluntary sector, that work with people with long-term or multiple conditions or the frail elderly. The service user usually has access to a case worker or navigator for a single point of access, medical records are usually shared between the members of the team, and members of the team may be drawn from different organisations. Their aim is to support people to remain in their own homes and live as independently as possible, and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
They may also be known as integrated local care teams, locality care teams, virtual wards, neighbourhood teams or similar. Neighbourhood care teams or similar models are a feature of many local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
What examples are there of neighbourhood care teams in practice?
The document from NHS England on new care models (1) provides examples of a couple of schemes similar to neighbourhood care teams, namely Fylde Coast Local Health Economy and Stockport Together.
Other examples include:
- Lincolnshire Health and Care Integrated Neighbourhood Care Teams
- Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Neighbourhood Care Teams
- South Manchester Integrated Community Care Team
What’s the evidence for neighbourhood care teams?
A Nuffield Trust report (2) looking at different community interventions including integrated health and social care teams found no evidence of a reduction in hospital admissions, but this may be due to ‘case finding’ identifying previous unmet needs, and any reduction in admissions may only happen in the long-term.
However, there is evidence (3) that co-ordination of care through integrated teams improves patient experience and quality of life, and some evidence that chronic care management models are associated with lower costs.
- NHS England (2016). New care models: Vanguards – developing a blueprint for the future of NHS and care services https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/new_care_models.pdf
- Nuffield Trust (2011). An evaluation of the impact of community-based interventions on hospital use https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-01/evaluation-community-based-interventions-hospital-use-report-web-final.pdf
- King’s Fund (2015). Care co-ordination through integrated health and social care teamshttps://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/gp-commissioning/ten-priorities-for-commissioners/care-coordination