New service aims to lower number of unnecessary elderly admissions to hospital

The NNUH Older Persons Assessment Service team . Picture: NNUH

The NNUH Older Persons Assessment Service team . Picture: NNUH - Credit: Archant

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is launching a new assessment service aimed at reducing the amount of unnecessary elderly admissions by enabling tests and specialist assessments to be completed quickly.

The service will begin attending to patients in early October, following referrals from their GP. It will speed up the process as rather than waiting for a hospital appointment, then a patient needing to return to the hospital for further tests, older patients will be seen by the specialist team within two days.

Dr Alice Schweigart, associate specialist for older peoples' medicine at NNUH and clinical lead for the new service said: 'We are extremely excited to be introducing this service for our older patients. Norfolk has a significantly older than average population and this new service will be of great benefit for them.'

Most tests will be performed on the day and GPs will receive a full report about the patient on that same day.

Jo Walmsley, NNUH senior operational manager for medicine division said: 'The key advantage of this service is that it builds on the success we have already had with raising awareness of frailty in our older population.

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'As part of that work, we introduced the concept of a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) for patients who were admitted to hospital, which is a diagnostic process designed to identify an older person's risk of frailty by assessing their medical conditions, mental health, level of independence and social circumstances.

'No one wants to be admitted into hospital as an inpatient unnecessarily and the introduction of this service helps to reduce the possibility of this happening.'

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Dr Frankie Swords, NNUH chief of division for medicine said: 'This is a really exciting service we're introducing. Delivering excellent patient care is at the forefront of everything we do and the launch of this service builds on the great work our emergency teams are already doing and demonstrates our commitment to enhancing services for our older patients. I look forward to seeing the benefits it will have for our patients.'

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