Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has announced plans to introduce an emergency department dedicated solely to the care of elderly patients.
The first of its kind in the UK, the facility will only treat people over the age of 80.
When a patient over 80 arrives at NNUH A&E they will go straight to the older people’s emergency department (OPED), where a team of emergency consultants and geriatric specialists will treat them.
Patients requiring admission will be transferred to a specialist ward.
The trust has recently implemented a variety of changes aimed at improving the care of older people, including an older people’s ambulatory care department (OPCD), which allows older patients who are admitted as an emergency to receive a comprehensive assessment and an earlier discharge, freeing up much needed hospital beds.
The older people’s assessment service (OPAS) was also introduced, allowing GPs to book an appointment with a specialist geriatrician within 48 hours of referral, replacing the traditional outpatient clinic appointment.
It is hoped that these innovations will ensure that all patients receive “gold standard” care as quickly as possible, with a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) within 48hours of referral or immediately on presentation at NNUH.
The trust says that CGAs can fully assess a person’s needs, saving time and improving their immediate care, as well as preventing future problems.
Dr. Martyn Patel, consultant for older people’s medicine at NNUH, said: “Norfolk is home to one of the largest populations of older people in the country, which is continuing to grow at a fast rate.
“This means we’ve got to do something that no-one else has done before in the UK, to ensure our older patients are able to receive the best care most appropriate to their needs in a timely manner.”
Sr. Frankie Swords, chief of division for medicine added: “For older patients, we know that the earlier we can assess a patient, the quicker we can get them back to full health, regain their independence and avoid hospital admission.”
The trust is also expanding its paediatric emergency department as part of its improvements.
Mark Davies, chief executive of the trust, said: “As a trust, we are committed to providing the best possible care for our patients, and developing the older people’s emergency department and expanding our paediatric emergency department both show how we are always looking at new and innovative ways to do so.
“This is a massive step forward in enhancing emergency care for our patients and I’d like to thank all those teams involved in the development.”
Source: National Health Executive