Ge­ri­atric short stay unit has been a suc­cess

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Char­lotte Tal­bot

A SPE­CIAL short stay unit for el­derly peo­ple at St Peter’s Hos­pi­tal has been deemed a suc­cess, treat­ing 5,186 pa­tients since last De­cem­ber.

At the end of last year a new Older Per­sons’ Short Stay Unit, Cherry Ward, opened at the Chert­sey hos­pi­tal, specif­i­cally to care for pa­tients over the age of 75.

Led by con­sul­tant or­thogeri­a­tri­cian, Dr Rad­cliffe Lisk and his col­leagues, the new unit en­sures that pa­tients re­ceive a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment soon af­ter be­ing ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal by a highly spe­cialised multi-dis­ci­plinary team, re­ceive good con­ti­nu­ity of care and are dis­charged more quickly.

Dr Lisk said: “Pro­vid­ing good care for our el­derly pa­tients can be a chal­lenge. They of­ten come into hos­pi­tal as an emer­gency but in treat­ing the prob­lem they present with, we need to con­sider the other, com­plex, health is­sues they may have.

“There are also con­sid­er­a­tions around things such as mo­bil­ity, abil­ity to live in­de­pen­dently at home, fam­ily sup­port, me­mory loss and de­men­tia.

“Com­pre­hen­sively as­sess­ing all of their needs as soon as they come into hos­pi­tal means we can put the right care plan in place and think ahead for when the time comes for them to go home.

“For some time we’ve taken a joint ap­proach to this, with a ded­i­cated team of geri­a­tri­cians, nurses, ther­a­pists, di­eti­cians pro­vid­ing early, de­tailed as­sess­ment.”

While this ‘joined-up’ ap­proach was prov­ing very suc­cess­ful, it be­came clear it was dif­fi­cult to fol­low-up pa­tients once they were moved to a ward.

“It’s hard to keep track of pa­tients when they are lo­cated on sev­eral wards”, added Dr Lisk. “Even the time it takes to walk back­wards and for­wards is lost time for pa­tient care.”

The so­lu­tion was to cre­ate Cherry Ward – a ded­i­cated 13-bed fa­cil­ity lo­cated in the old Med­i­cal As­sess­ment Unit at St Peter’s Hos­pi­tal.

Dr Chikusu, con­sul­tant acute physi­cian and geri­a­tri­cian and new lead for the unit, adds: “We’ve also changed the way we staff this ser­vice.

“Be­tween 8am and 6pm each day we aim to have a ded­i­cated se­nior mem­ber of our team in A&E, the Acute Med­i­cal Unit and on Cherry Ward, so they can work to­gether to quickly iden­tify el­derly pa­tients who need our spe­cial­ist in­put and should be moved to the unit.

“We’ve also in­tro­duced a ‘Con­sul­tant of the Week’ model, mean­ing the same con­sul­tant at­tends the unit each day, pro­vid­ing bet­ter con­ti­nu­ity of care and re­duc­ing rep­e­ti­tion.”

Be­tween De­cem­ber 2015 and May 2016, 5,186 pa­tients aged 75-plus were ad­mit­ted, with an av­er­age stay of 7.55 days, a great im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous year. Be­tween De­cem­ber 2014 and May 2015, 5,253 pa­tients were ad­mit­ted with an av­er­age length of stay of 9.30 days.

Dr Lisk said: “We know that spend­ing long pe­ri­ods of time in hos­pi­tal can ac­tu­ally be detri­men­tal to our older pa­tients’ health and well­be­ing. Most do not want to be in hos­pi­tal and over time, their mo­bil­ity and in­de­pen­dence can re­duce.

“It’s great that the in­tro­duc­tion of Cherry Ward and our ap­proach of work­ing so closely with the se­nior ther­apy team is en­abling us to pro­vide a more tai­lored pack­age of care for these pa­tients, and to dis­charge them more quickly.”

In recog­ni­tion of this suc­cess, the team pre­sented at the Acute Frailty Net­work’s an­nual con­fer­ence on June 30 and will also give a pre­sen­ta­tion at the Euro­pean Union Ge­ri­atric Medicine So­ci­ety (EUGMS) Congress in Lisbon in Oc­to­ber.

Dr Rad­cliffe Lisk, left, with oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist Char­lotte Spencer, Dr Bhavidra Path­manathan, physio Ruth O’Sul­li­van, Deputy Sis­ter Mar­lyn Pagkali­nawan, ther­apy as­sis­tant Si­mon Lis­ter, ward man­ager Kris­tine Reyes and Dr Clarence Chikus who have all...

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