Frailty initiative that saved £2 million up for national award

A team that has saved almost £2 million by successfully reducing the amount of time older people living with frailty spend in hospital by around a quarter, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Patients living with frailty over the age of 75 years account for the largest increase in unplanned and emergency hospital attendance.

The team lead by Consultant Geriatrician, James Adams, established a pathway of care that has seen the average length of stay for these patients reduced by 24 per cent, saving 40,000 hours patients would otherwise have spent in a hospital bed.

They have now been named finalists in the Care of the Older Person Team of the Year at The BMJ Awards 2019.

Dr Adams said: “A growing number of the people that we see arriving in our Emergency Department are older and increasingly frail, and they live with a number of complex age related long-term conditions.

“Upon arrival in the emergency department older patients with signs of frailty will now receive a rapid and comprehensive assessment from a multi-disciplinary team before a plan for their care is put in place.”

The team has also established a dedicated Older Persons Short Stay Unit, ensuring these patients, who often present to hospital with signs of confusion, falls, and mobility issues, have access to the right care and intervention.

The team, which includes doctors, nurses, therapists and social care practitioners, used quality improvement methodology to rapidly change pathways for identifying and assessing patients with frailty.

The project, known as the Acute Frailty Pathway, has successfully reduced the time patients spend in the Emergency Department by 19 per cent and has also increased the number of same day and next day discharges from the emergency floor.

Return on investment calculations estimate the reduction in bed days has saved the Trust an estimated £1.9 million.

Dr Adams said: “No-one wants to be in hospital when they don’t have to be and we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far for our patients.

“Time is the most precious currency that older people living with frailty have and I’m pleased to say this work has saved over 40,000 hours of patient time that would have otherwise been wasted in a hospital bed.

“I am delighted to see that the work of the entire team has received this recognition.

“Our therapists, nurses, Doctors and other Allied Healthcare Professionals deserve huge credit for making this happen.”

Medical Director, Dr Marianne Illsley, said: “The experience that our patients have as they make their way through the hospital is incredibly important to everyone at Royal Surrey and as an organisation we are always keen to develop innovative ways of working to ensure we lead the way on delivering the very best care and treatment.

 

 

“Dr Adams and the team have demonstrated unwavering commitment to improving the journey of this vulnerable group of patients and ensuring that they are not spending unnecessary time in hospital.”

The winners of the BMJ awards will be announced on 24 April in a glittering ceremony at Westminster Plaza Hotel in London.

©2019 Royal Surrey County Hospital

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