New streamlined service for frail patients at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

A collaboration between NHS teams has resulted in a new streamlined service for admitting frail patients without the need to use the Emergency Department, at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The teams involved in the project include the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), local GPs, and community frailty nurses who have introduced a new “direct admissions pathway” to ease the strain on emergency care and give direct access to specialist care.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Lead Frailty Practitioner Hazel Wright said: “We are delighted to have opened up our unit to direct admissions from NWAS. This takes out the need for the patients to wait in the emergency department, and they have early access to a comfortable bed. We use a multidisciplinary approach and complete a comprehensive geriatric assessment addressing not only medical but also psychological, environmental, and social aspects of care.”

Development of the new pathway came about through the work of the ‘Frailty Big Room’, a project set up to drive innovation in services aimed at people with frailty issues.

The ‘Big Room’ concept brings together everyone involved in delivering a service to collaborate on finding innovative solutions.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Catherine Silcock said: “Development of this new pathway reduces pressure on our Emergency Departments and ensures patients with frailty issues can get timely and efficient access to the care they need. This is innovative, shows joined-up working, is best for the patients and I am very proud to work with such an inspirational team.”

Alongside the streamlined care pathway, the Big Room team have introduced the opening of a 10-bed Acute Frailty Assessment Unit at Preston Hospital, the launch of daily team meetings involving community staff, and the development of a virtual frailty ward.