The service aims to promote the understanding of the need for an integrated approach in care of the elderly in acute care. It demonstrates the impact that psychiatric morbidity can have on physical health and rehabilitation and how joint working with other professional groups can improve the quality of care and outcomes for elderly patients. It has developed and implemented an acute pathway for people with cognitive impairment entering the acute hospital, and assisted in early identification and diagnosis of dementia by providing specialist assessment and treatment interventions, education and support to patients, staff and carers.
Many older people were being admitted to appropriate wards from an acute medical perspective but were missing the opportunity to benefit from a coordinated comprehensive geriatric assessment which would potentially ensure a better patient journey and reduce the hospital stay.
Improved assessment and care of patients with BPSD and dementia or delirium in keeping with national guidelines. It is recognised that prevalence of dementia, delirium and cognitive impairment otherwise unspecified is high in Geriatric Medicine departments.
In the view of ‘Care closer to home ’(Darzi) 2008, AHPs play an integral role in deciding whether a patient is safe for discharge. They are well positioned to deal with the wide range of pathologies and complexities presented. Additionally, evidence relating to emergency admissions of older people suggests assessment should take place as early as possible depending on medical stability (RCPL – Management of the older medical patient, RCPL 2000).