Specialist nursing teams in care homes for older people could cut hospital admissions and save money, new university research has suggested.
The University of the West of England (UWE), in Bristol, and the University of Warwick study found permanent community nursing and physiotherapy teams in homes also improved quality of life.
The study, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found the money saved by admitting fewer people to hospital would offset the cost of employing nursing staff.
Professors claim the move could save the NHS and councils up to £250,000 a year.
Bath & North East Somerset council and NHS Primary Care Trust worked together on a two-year pilot scheme using local authority residential homes.
The nursing teams detected and dealt with undiagnosed illnesses, with between 80 and 200 potential hospital admissions averted by the team among the 131 older people involved in the study, researchers said.
Professor Ala Szczepura, from Warwick University, said: "During the two-year study 20 early discharges were made possible.
"Beyond the clear benefits cited by residents and staff, we estimate investment in such a service could produce savings of up to £250,000 per annum to the primary care trust and local authority."