Personnel from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust have been nominated for their outstanding commitment to elderly patients and as a result are hoping to scoop up a top Healthcare Service Award.
Clinicians within the Accident and Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary set up an Emergency Frailty Unit to support vulnerable older people. The team then joined forces with primary care coordinators from the Leicester Partnership Trust and consultant psychiatrists and mental health nurses, to redesign their caring services with the introduction of an innovative project titled, The Frail Older People’s Advice and Liaison Service.
The service, which has led to the hospital being nominated for the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Efficiency Award 2012, ensures older patients with psychological issues as well as physical problems from Leicestershire and Rutland are efficiently treated and have a comprehensive assessment.
Dr Simon Conroy, consultant geriatrician at Leicester’s Hospitals and specialist clinical director at LPT, said: “[We are] delighted as this is the accumulation of several years of hard work by many staff members and it represents unusually close collaboration between emergency medicine and geriatric medicine in delivering a service which improves patient care.”
The number of patients aged 85 and over going to the A&E Department at Leicester’s Hospitals has risen in the past months, but the team has worked to offer the appropriate treatment, avoid hospital admission when unnecessary and reduce the time each patient stays in hospital, preventing in that way over 500 admissions and saving £700,000 in the first year.
Dr Conroy added: “We found that frail older people were more likely than any other group to be admitted to hospital once they attended the Emergency Department, so we set about looking at what we could do differently.
“There are lots of reasons why avoiding hospital admission is important for frail older people. You avoid the problem of falls and investigative tests, and there is really good evidence from various trials that being cared for at home promotes functionality and independence. ”
The list of winners will be revealed at the HSJ Efficiency Awards 2012 ceremony, which will be held in London on 25 September.