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Social care practitioner in the emergency department

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In January 2019, Isle of Wight Council placed an experienced social care practitioner (SCP) into the emergency department (ED) in St Mary’s Hospital.

The aim is to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and enable the people to return home quicker with the care and support they need.

The SCP is now a full member of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) based in the ED. The team also includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and doctors. The MDT provides support to people who present at ED and who need care or support. Upon discharge the MDT completes a robust and holistic assessment. People with multiple co-morbidities are appropriately assessed. A care a package is procured, and the person is assisted to return to their home.

The SCP becomes involved quickly so that joint responsibility is taken on discharge. This has led to a less risk averse and a person-centred approach. It enables the MDT to focus on returning the person to their home. Thus avoiding hospital admissions.


From January to April 2019, the SCP worked with 120 people. 81 of those people (67.5%) avoided hospital admission - returning either to their home or a residential placement.

The urgent and emergency (U&E) care team reports that the SCP assists robust clinical decision making. The SCP provides both current and past social circumstances. She has and continues to prevent admissions to hospital for social reasons across both ED and Medical Assessment Unit. This can now be translated into clinical and nursing hours gained back to the department. It has led to an estimated ‘gain’ of one full time nurse caring for patients.

Last updated:
26 June 2019


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