Benefits of an older persons’ assessment and liaison team in acute admissions areas of a general hospital
Stephen Allen, Tom Bartlett, Joanna Ventham, Cherry McCubbin, Andrew Williams
The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Bournemouth, Dorset, United Kingdom
Objective: To analyze and describe the operational benefits that followed the introduction of a multiprofessional older person assessment and liaison service (OPAL) into the acute admissions areas of a general hospital. OPAL delivered comprehensive geriatric assessment and a range of early medical, nursing, therapy, and social interventions to all eligible elderly and frail patients.
Methods: A mix of numeric data, case note narrative, historic comparison, and staff opinion was used to reach a reliable view of the impact that OPAL had on a number of key indicators pertaining to the timing of assessments, treatments, and discharge planning.
Results: We found that the new service reduced the time required to achieve several critical interventions including medical, nursing, and therapy reviews. We were also able to show that OPAL activity played a critical role in reducing the length of hospital stay of frail older people and made available the equivalent of 9–16 beds per day (8%–14% of acute admission area beds).
Conclusion: OPAL was shown to be effective as a medium for timely review and intervention of frail elderly patients in an acute medical setting, and as a mechanism for reducing length of stay.
Keywords: older persons, elderly, frail, early supported discharge, multiprofessional, flexible working
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