Older patients showing signs of frailty will be seen by a new specialist team when they arrive at Royal Surrey County Hospital.
The Acute Frailty Team, which includes a Consultant Geriatrician and a specialist Acute Frailty Nurse, will be based in the Trust’s Accident and Emergency Department.
They will assess all patients showing signs of frailty, such as confusion, falls and mobility issues, within one hour of their arrival.
Individual care plans will then be put in place for each patient, with the support of a multidisciplinary team, to ensure they receive the treatment and support they need either as an in-patient or at home.
It is hoped that these changes will reduce the amount of time some older people need to spend in hospital. The team will initially be available from Monday to Friday and it is planned that in time they will expand and be able to offer a seven day service.
Consultant James Adams, Clinical Director for Frailty Services, said: “A growing number of the people that we see arriving at A&E are older and increasingly frail, and they live with a number of complex age related long-term conditions.
“We are committed to getting the care for patients living with frailty right to ensure that they get home sooner and healthier.
“Improving the frailty service that we offer is not just a key priority here at Royal Surrey, but it is also part of the wider forward vision for the NHS.
“This new approach means that upon arrival in our emergency department older patients with signs of frailty will receive a rapid assessment from an expert before a plan for their care is put in place.
“For some this could reduce the amount of time they spend in Hospital, which is often incredibly important for our patients.”
Other changes to improve care for older people will follow, including plans to open a short stay ward and to strengthen links with colleagues who work outside the hospital, such as GPs.