Elderly patients being cared for at a Lincolnshire hospital are benefitting from improving services, staffing and care.
The elderly care team at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston has been transformed over the last year and a half, with new consultants bringing in expertise and innovation that has resulted in a reduction in length of stay for patients and a new service.
Dr Koshy Jacob, Clinical Director for integrated medicine at Pilgrim said: “Over the last year, we have gone from having only one substantive elderly care consultants at the hospital to four. This is a really positive development, as more permanent staff mean a more stable situation and the opportunity to work with nursing staff to develop new innovations and service improvements.
“Thanks to our new consultants and their dedication, the average length of stay for patients in the elderly care area has reduced significantly, from 13-14 days to an average of 7-8 days. This is a huge improvement in terms of patient experience.”
Reducing length of stay means that patients are well enough to leave hospital more quickly, and get back into their own homes much sooner, which can aid recovery.
Some of the new developments introduced by the new team include a new front door frailty service- identifying frail patients on admission to hospital so that they can be better cared for.
Frail patients are those who have an age-related decline in their bodies, resulting in easy tiring, reduced muscle strength and vulnerability or increased susceptibility to disease.
Dr Sofia Zubiaga, Head of Service for elderly care who has worked on the new developments said: “Many patients that we care for come back on multiple occasions because they are frail but were not previously reviewed in the right way. The frailty service involves a consultant with a specialist interest in frailty identifying these patients and working to identify what’s happening with them at the front door, to stop re-admissions and take a more holistic approach.
“For these frail patients, longer stay in hospitals can result in further muscle mass loss, increased infections and in certain cases limits a patient’s ability to recover their independence afterwards. The frailty service provides a safe and compassionate care for older people, reducing the length of hospital stay if admission is required, reducing re-admissions and improving patient and carer experience.”
In addition, Dr Zubiaga has recently worked with the team to introduce a Parkinson’s clinic at Pilgrim hospital for the first time, run once a week by a geriatrician with the support of two specialist Parkinson’s nurses in the community.
“This prevents patients from having to travel to Kings Lynn or Peterborough for this specific service and also enables them to be reviewed immediately when problems appear,” said Dr Zubiaga.
“All of these developments are in their early stages, but things are looking really positive for the elderly care service and therefore for the elderly population of Boston.”