NNUH staff have been praised for their dedication and innovation as the country’s first Older People’s Emergency Department (OPED) celebrates its first anniversary. The dedicated department for patients over the age of 80 was launched in December 2017 and brought specialists in older people’s medicine to the front doors of the hospital.
The department, which has received interest from across the country since its inception, has improved care by providing patients with immediate access to a geriatrician and has helped reduce the average length of stay in hospital for patients.The OPED has also recently expanded its opening hours as the Trust gears up for an anticipated increase in people attending hospital this winter. The service, which is a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Emergency Department Consultants, Consultant Geriatricians and Emergency and Older People’s Medicine Nurses, sees on average 20 to 25 patients a day who receive a specialist review and comprehensive geriatric assessment.
Dr Sarah Bailey is a Consultant in Older People’s Medicine and is the service director for frailty and OPED. She said OPED was developed in response to a growing older population in Norfolk and to improve patient care and experience. “We are proud to be the first hospital in the country to set up a dedicated Older People’s Emergency Department for patients over the age of 80 and since its launch we have received interest from other hospital Trusts wanting to find out more. Many of our staff are specialists in working with older people and OPED provides immediate access to a geriatrician. We have had some great feedback from patients and families as the space is tailor-made for them and feels quieter than the main part of the Emergency Department.”
More than 800 patients over the age of 80 are admitted to the hospital every month. However, earlier access to a geriatrician has reduced the average length of stay in hospital by 1.2 days since the introduction of the service and revised pathways. Mark Davies, NNUH Chief Executive, said: “I’d like to congratulate the OPED team for their fantastic work over the last year. Since the service launched, it has gone from strength to strength and has received such great feedback from patients and their families. “I’m proud that NNUH is leading the way with this pioneering development in older people’s medicine and OPED has really enhanced the care we provide for our older patients.”