Clinical Skills Development Service

Frail Older Person

The journey through the healthcare system can be daunting and overwhelming for many patients, especially for the frail older patient. CSDS/CEQ in collaboration with Metro North HHS have created a training resource video to promote awareness and understanding of the frail older patient experience, particularly when requiring travel from rural and remote areas to unfamiliar metropolitan healthcare facilities.

What is the Care of the Frail Older Person?

As our population has aged, our health service needs to respond to the challenges presented when providing care to this potentially vulnerable group.

Trends show increasing numbers of very elderly people presenting to our hospitals and that these patients tend to be sicker and stay in hospital longer than their younger counterparts.

Inappropriate admissions and unnecessarily long periods in hospital can contribute to a frail older person declining in function to a point where they are unable to return home. Frail older people are also particularly at risk of harm related to medications and investigations, as well as being at risk of acute confusion, falls and pressure injuries while in hospital.

In fact, when a patient over the age of 85 is hospitalised, the evidence shows they have an average of 1,000 days of life remaining. We want to play our part as a hospital and health service to ensure that time is spent as independently and with as much dignity as possible.

Working together and providing holistic, integrated and responsive care will assist us achieving the best outcomes possible for this at risk group of patients.

Why are we focusing on our frail older patients?

In 2015, the estimated resident population 65 years and older in Metro North was just over 129,000. This age group is projected to grow to more than 160,000 people by 2021.

In 2015-16, 36 per cent of all hospitalisations – almost 83,000 hospitalisations – and 41 per cent – almost 325,000 – bed days in Metro North hospitals were for people aged 65 years and older.
By treating every one of these patients as we would our own family member, we can improve both the quality of life for our patients as well as make a significant difference for the system in relation to bed capacity.

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