Service for frail elderly patients now extended to the weekend

Date: 24 March 2016

A service to help improve emergency care for frail elderly patients, and reduce their stay in hospital, is now available seven days a week at Medway Maritime Hospital.
 
The Acute Frailty Service was originally introduced last year to run Monday to Friday, between 8.00am and 5.00pm. Following the success of the pilot project, the service has now been extended to cover Saturday and Sunday.
 
The service ensures frail elderly patients are seen by a specialist team, including a geriatric consultant and specialist nurse, upon their arrival in the Emergency Department or medical assessment unit. The patients seen by the Acute Frailty Service are typically over 80 years of age, live in nursing or residential homes. It is also likely they will have dementia, delirium and a history of falls.
 
As part of the service, treatment and discharge planning now starts the minute patients are seen by staff in the Emergency Department, where they receive a comprehensive geriatric assessment. It is then decided what treatment they need, whether they need to be admitted, and for what period of time.
 
This is a strong example of how Medway NHS Foundation Trust is taking proactive steps to improve patient care by minimising the number of different doctors that patients see during their stay at hospital– one of the key issues raised in the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.
 
Margaret Dalziel, Director of Clinical Operations (Acute & Continuing Care Directorate) at Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re delighted to announce the service is now available seven days a week to frail and elderly patients.
 
“It’s no secret that Emergency Departments are often not the best place for frail people, especially those with dementia. If patients are seen more quickly upon arrival, we can move them swiftly to the older people’s care ward or the dementia unit, which are more appropriate places. Most importantly; this is also helping lead to reductions in the amount of time our elderly frail patients spend in hospital.”
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