Frailty unit launches at Scarborough Hospital

A new frailty unit has opened at Scarborough Hospital, providing dedicated care for older people who come into hospital.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 9:08 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 9:10 am

Elderly patients, who are frail and aged over 65, presenting at the emergency department will now be rapidly assessed and any patient who can be safely managed in a same day setting, rather than being admitted to the hospital, will be moved into the hospital’s new ‘Home First’ unit.

The new unit brings together experts from a range of clinical teams to offer patient-centred care and rapid assessment.

This means that treatment and care can begin sooner and many patients who are medically well and stable are able to go home the same day.

Dr Phil Jones (centre) with the Home First Unit team at Scarborough Hospital.

Dr Phil Jones, a GP and emergency doctor, who works both in the community and the hospital explained: "Emergency departments can be really busy and noisy with lots going on.

"This can be really difficult for our older patients while they are waiting and they often feel vulnerable, particularly if they are frail.

"Our new Home First Unit is set away from the main emergency department, so it’s a lot quieter and a better environment for our older patients to be while they’re being assessed."

The unit is suitable for patients who might be confused, unsteady on their feet or feeling generally unwell.

Treatment might involve taking bloods, hydrating a patient or starting them on a course of antibiotics so they're able to return home again the same day.

Dr Jones added: “In the unit we assess patients from relaxing chairs rather than trolleys or beds wherever possible as this is much easier for patients who may be stiff or frail, and it also means they can stay in their own clothes which is often more comfortable and dignified for them.

"We encourage patients who are fit to sit to mobilise every hour - just like they would at home if they were making a cup of tea.”

David Thomas, care group manager for acute, emergency and elderly medicine at Scarborough Hospital added: “Acute frailty units have been proven to provide the best quality of care for older patients.

"By focusing on bringing together the right resources and range of clinicians we have already seen excellent results and a reduction in the number of older patients being admitted to the hospital.”

The Home First Unit, which opened earlier this month, currently operates from Monday to Friday, 8.00am-8.00pm.