More support for elderly in Camden

More than 200 of Camden’s most vulnerable elderly residents are benefiting from a new way of providing their care, which more than halved the number of days spent in hospital in 2012/13 for the first patients* to receive support.

Early figures show the first patients to have their care managed by Camden Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Frailty Team spent 54% fewer days in hospital in 2012/13 with the number of visits they made to A&E reduced by 44%.

They were able to spend 10% more days at home, something which patients and carers had highlighted as very important to them, while the number of first and follow-up outpatient appointments they had to attend reduced by 50%.

Dr Caz Sayer, Chair of Camden CCG and a local Camden GP, said the CCG was now working closely with GP practices to identify more elderly residents who could benefit from this care.

“Elderly people with complex health and social care needs frequently experience fragmented services, provided by many different organisations, which are difficult for them and their carers to navigate,” she said.

“This care is often poorly co-ordinated which means there is also a high risk of admissions and re-admissions to hospital, which can be especially unsettling and disruptive for elderly people.

“Providing more ‘joined-up care’ that can reduce the amount of time elderly residents have to spend in hospital or A&E can reduce the risk of admissions and re-admissions and really help improve their quality of life.

“Patients, carers, clinicians and providers developed outcomes with us to measure our success and patients identified very clearly that the number of days spent at home was important to them.

“Reducing the amount of time spent in hospital also helps reduce pressure on services as people over 65 account for 39% of all A&E admissions to hospital and 60% of all emergency bed days.”

The Frailty Team, a borough-wide multi-disciplinary team for vulnerable elderly patients, is led by a geriatrician and a GP and includes hospital and community based nurses and allied health professionals, social workers and mental health workers.

They work together across secondary, primary and community health and social care providers to co-ordinate and plan care for elderly patients identified as having the most complex health and social care needs. 

Anyone who is concerned about an elderly family member or loved one and feels they need more support should encourage them to contact their GP in the first instance.

Improving health outcomes for frail and elderly people is one of five health priorities identified by Camden CCG because:

  • By 2022, there will be a 35% increase in people aged over 85
  • There are rising numbers of older people with long-term conditions and mental health disorders
  • People over 65 account for 39% of all A&E admissions to hospital and 60% of all emergency bed days
  • Costs are increasing because unplanned and uncoordinated care is resulting in avoidable admissions to hospital.

 * Figures based on analysis of data from 40 patients.