Elderly only A&E opens in Norfolk
15th December 2017
The ageing population means much of the UK’s infrastructure is being taken under review to make it more effective and accessible. The first steps of this in the NHS are being seen in Norfolk with an A&E being dedicated to patients over 80.
Though A&E facilities are equipped with disability bathrooms, they often lack the staffing resource to adequately deal with older patients. A&E departments are dedicated to emergencies, however though an older adult who has fallen in a public place may require an ambulance and a trip to hospital, they are often not seen to immediately.
A dedicated department for older adults means they are seen much sooner than in a traditional A&E and the staff there would also be specialised nurses and consultant geriatricians. This would ensure that older adults are given the best care as quickly as possible and therefore avoid long delays in hospitals which can increase frailty and reduce their independence once they are discharged.
This is being trialled after concerns about the level of care available to older adults in a traditional A&E department. It is being trialled in Norfolk due to the large population of older adults in the area and the current rate of growth.
Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals told the Telegraph: “If you put a frail elderly person in an acute hospital bed and they stay there too long they lose their ability to lead an independent life. They lose their muscle strength they often lose their bone strength and they often become much frailer”.
If successful, dedicated A&E’s could be trialled over the rest of the country, starting with areas with a high population of older adults. This increase in the quality of care for older adults is the beginning of the NHS adapting to the population’s age shift.
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