Medicine for the elderly

TraceyA significant percentage of the population we serve is elderly, helping to make our services to older patients among the most innovative and patient-focused in the country.

Medicine for the elderly is part of the medical clinical care group. It encompasses a nationally recognised rapid assessment unit for the frail elderly, an integrated stroke care unit and three acute older people inpatients medical wards.

The wards provide in-patient care facilities for a total of 95 patients at any one time. Three of the wards concentrate on providing acute care for older people with a wide range of medical conditions. One of these wards manages short stay patients.

The wards have a strong multi-disciplinary focus with the ward teams including occupational therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, ward clerks, patients, carers and members of the community,

A large multi-disciplinary team provides seamless care through the patients’ journey. Each ward is led by a ward sister or charge nurse who is supported by a team of registered nurses and nursing auxiliaries including those trained to National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level II, III and diploma. Stroke competencies for non-professionally qualified practitioners are integrated with NVQ and diploma accredited learning within the stroke services.

The integrated stroke unit combines eight acute stroke beds and twenty stroke rehabilitation beds. There is a strong emphasis on tailoring care to meet the needs of individuals and to providing a well organised, expert and flexible service. The acute stroke unit have developed stroke services further with the development of a rapid access neurovascular clinic which operates seven days a week, and is predominantly nurse led with consultant support.

The Rapid Access Consultant Evaluation (RACE) unit has been developed to expedite patient discharges and length of stay through a multidisciplinary approach to care. This unit has 27 acute beds and Consultant lead clinic with a target length of stay of 1.4 days. The unit manages 430 patients per month, 56% of patients are discharged within 48 hours as a result of excellent multi-disciplinary partnership working.

Older people’s services include all nursing, medical and clerical staff linked to the care of older people.

All staff have an annual appraisal, from this they negotiate a personal development plan (PDP) in line with the Knowledge and Skills Framework. The PDP identifies individual learning objectives which are set in the context of personal and professional objectives. As a result of the appraisal and PDP process a training needs analysis is prepared each year. The learning needs identified may be met using a variety of methods:

  • Informal teachings
  • Self-directed study
  • Shadowing experts
  • Taught courses in a variety of institutions
  • e-learning programmes
  • Clinical facilitation

The medical services care group is committed to education and development, and invests in an education team which supports learning and practice development across the care group.

For more information contact Louise Coll, matron for medicine for the elderly, on 01202 448692.

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