28 / 01 / 2016
In South Warwickshire, finding ways to better care for older people has involved several changes and new collaborations. Partners in acute care, social care, primary care and the voluntary sector are working together to ensure frail older people are identified early, receive specialist care, and avoid hospital admission wherever possible.
Any frail older person in the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) at Warwick Hospital is seen by a geriatrician – two additional consultant geriatricians have been appointed in the local area – and the hospital has also created additional geriatric assessment units. Changes to community services mean that 50 patients per week can be discharged early from hospital, knowing they will receive the additional support they need when the leave hospital. The process of a patient moving from healthcare to social care services has also been improved.
Those involved in the work admit it was challenging to make so many changes, and emphasise the importance of building strong relationships with colleagues in all sectors. The results are highly encouraging, however. There has been a 20 per cent decrease in falls per 100 bed days, a 33 per cent drop in length of stay, and a 15 per cent reduction in the number of people admitted to nursing homes after previously living independently. There has also been a 24 per cent reduction in mortality among older people admitted to hospital.
For more information:
Ian Philp, Deputy Medical Director for Older People at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and former medical director, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust