Specialist care for elderly and frail set to open

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Specialist wards designed to care for frail elderly people are being set up by the district’s NHS trust.

Health bosses hope to reduce the numbers of elderly people stuck in hospital beds waiting to be discharged with the opening of the new frailty units.

A 41-bed unit is expected to open at Pinderfields Hospital over the summer as part of the scheme by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Dewsbury and District Hospital will get a 20-bed frailty unit at around the same time.

They are being set up to provide faster care for elderly people and avoid them being admitted to hospital.

Research has found that frail people are at far higher risk of harm in hospital from complications including falls and pressure ulcers.

Trudie Davies, director of hospital services operations at Mid Yorkshire, said: “As part of our ongoing service review and the increasing numbers of older people requiring hospital treatment, the trust has taken the decision to open specialist units at Dewsbury and District Hospital and Pinderfields Hospital to optimise care for these patients.

“The aim is to provide early specialist input to reduce admissions and support early discharge.”

NHS guidelines say people are classed as frail if they can have a sudden decline in their health caused by minor stress or events like an infection or fall at home.

An NHS England report said: “The clinical condition of ‘frailty’ is one of the most-challenging consequences of population ageing.

“People with frailty have a substantially increased risk of falls, disability, long-term care and death.”

It is hoped that reducing hospital admissions among elderly people will help cut delays in A&E at Mid Yorkshire.

Hospitals around the country have been struggling to meet targets for A&E patients to be either treated, admitted to hospital or discharged within four hours.

In December and January, the number of A&E patients seen within four hours at Mid Yorkshire was 77 per cent, against a national target of 95 per cent.

But latest figures show that has improved significantly, up to 82.3 per cent in February and then 92.6 per cent in March at the hospitals.