A new Older Adults Assessment Unit at the RAH has been established to ensure that older people attending hospital get the right care, at the right time, in the right place, by the right people.
Where clinically appropriate, older people attending as an emergency (referred to the hospital by their GP or who self refer) are taken from A&E directly into the new dedicated unit which is open between 8am and 8pm.
The unit is best placed to provide the most appropriate care for this group of patients because it is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team made up of dedicated clinical specialists in elderly care.
Hospital can be a challenging environment for frail older patients especially if they have dementia or a history of confusion. By being taken rapidly into our new unit senior specialists in elderly care can very quickly can carry out what is called a ‘Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.’ This specialist assessment looks at the person’s immediate medical condition which has brought them into hospital but also their general mental wellbeing, what social and community support they have in place or what they need, their functional abilities and what medication they are on. Having specialists in elderly care carry out such a comprehensive review so early in the patient’s hospital journey allows us to get the right care in place as fast as possible and in very many cases will significantly reduce the length of time a patient needs to stay in hospital.
The aim of the unit is to formulate a care plan for the patient which takes into account all their health and social care needs not just for the medical issue which has brought them to the hospital but going forward to prevent future admission or a deterioration of any underlying conditions.
Through early comprehensive assessment of the patient we can rapidly identify which community support is required and, working with our colleagues in the community, we can get that in place so the patient can go home, often on the same day, and be supported at home in a much more comfortable and familiar setting.
It is for these reasons that our links with community and social care colleagues are so vital to the unit’s success.