28 / 01 / 2016
In common with many cities, Liverpool is experiencing a significant growth in its number of older people. It is estimated that by 2021, the proportion of people in the city who are 65 or older will increase by nine per cent. Many will be frail, and living with multiple health problems.
In response to this growing need, four local organisations have joined to create the Liverpool Frailty Service. The multidisciplinary team includes geriatricians, specialist frailty nurses, social workers and occupational therapists among others. It aims to quickly identify frail patients while they are in hospital and support speedy and safe discharge.
Older patients attending the emergency department or acute medical unit are assessed for frailty as needed, and referred to the service if there are any concerns. The team carries out a full assessment and, if necessary, the patient can be transferred to the acute frailty unit at Royal Liverpool University Hospital. From here, the team aims to have the patient ready to leave hospital within 72 hours. The aim is always to discharge home if possible, where the service can continue to offer support for up to five days. Therapists accompany patients home, assessing any adaptations that might be needed – the fitting of grab rails, for instance – and arranging any further therapy.
Since the service was introduced in late 2014, the team has seen 479 patients. Some 80 per cent of those have been able to return home.
For more information:
Dr Alison Diack, Consultant Geriatrician, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust