A Walsall Healthcare service aimed at helping frail residents avoid being unnecessarily admitted to hospital is being further developed with support from partners to ensure people receive the most appropriate level of support.
People who arrive at Walsall Manor Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED), are frail and don’t have significant medical conditions that require admission such as stroke or a trauma injury will be screened to see if they should be seen by the Frail Elderly Service. Advanced Care Practitioners based in ED will check these assessments and if suitable these patients won’t stay in ED but will go on to Ward 10 which has been set aside for the service.
A multi-disciplinary team will be available on Ward 10.
Colleagues from the Intermediate Care Service, social care, Community Matrons and community services will all work together to ensure the most appropriate support is given to the patient.
Graeme Johnston, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Care Group Manager – Elderly Care & Neurology, explained that while frailty is often associated with elderly patients aged 75 and over it can also affect younger people and can be made better or worse depending on whether patients receive the right care when they come into contact with health professionals.
“Frail patients often arrive at ED because something, somewhere, isn’t quite right and this can be determined by a host of factors. We see people who usually live happily and healthily at home on a day to day basis who can’t manage because family are away or a neighbour has become unwell and is unable to check on them. We see people whose frailty is worsening and whose care packages may no longer be sufficient. Concerned family members and carers also bring people to ED when they’re worried and perhaps don’t know what else to do.
“Here in Walsall we see on average 2.5 people an hour over the age of 75 and as many as half of those patients may not need to be admitted to hospital. We’re all aware of how people can deteriorate in hospital and how muscles begin to waste if people are in bed and not active or mobilising. And with winter just around the corner, we want to work with our partners to avoid frail people waiting in ED and being admitted unnecessarily.
“The screening tool will enhance the care of patients by identifying their specific needs based on five key frailty triggers and we believe this approach will also help improve patients’ experience.”
The Frail Elderly Service will be regularly reviewed and aims to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions as well as reduce length of stay for patients who do have a medical need that requires admission.
Daren Fradgley, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Executive Director for Strategy & Improvement, said: “We are piloting this approach which we believe is more tailored to the needs of our frail patients. We hope that it will improve their care experience and – thanks to this partnership approach – will ensure they have access to the most appropriate services for their needs.
“We want to avoid frail patients being admitted unnecessarily to hospital and help them to remain in their home environments and in their communities where they feel happiest.”