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Frailty services helping older adults stay well at home

Frail older adults in West Dunbartonshire are having shorter stays in hospital and are less likely to be re-admitted, thanks to the improving frailty services in the Vale of Leven Hospital.

As part of these ongoing improvements, there was the creation of a new frailty practitioner post. Craig Bowman took up this post 18 months ago, coming from a background in physiotherapy with experience working across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. 

The aim of this new post is to improve the outcome of frail older adults who attend the Vale of Leven Hospital, and since then the hospital has seen a drop in seven day re-admission rates. Since the new frailty pathway was introduced, the percentage of frail older adults receiving a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment has also increased.

Craig said: “When I meet my patients and explain my role, I often say that whatever has unfortunately brought you into hospital, we will also take the opportunity to identify other small problems which may be affecting your quality of life. So we can try and help with these so they don’t become bigger issues in the future.  This helps patients and their families to identify with my role and helps put them at ease.

“My job is to assess frail patients over the age of 75, or 65 if they live in a residential care setting.  

“Frailty is not just about mobility but covers a whole range of things. It’s really about a person’s ability to cope with everyday activities and their reserve against disease, trauma and infection.”

One of the best parts of the job for Craig is the variety of staff, both in hospital and in the community, his role brings him into contact with, combined with the familiarity a small site brings.

He said: “I love working at the Vale, it's a great place to work. Because it is a small hospital, you really get to know the people you work with, and the local communities which the hospital serves.

“The best part of my job is being able to help someone find a solution to a problem they may have been struggling with at home, even if it is unrelated to why they were admitted to hospital in the first place - knowing that you have had a positive impact on an individual's quality of life."