Staff at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust have received a prestigious national award for improving care for older patients.
The medicine for older people (MOP) team fought off competition from five other organisations to be named winner of the inaugural ‘care of the older person’ category at The BMJ Awards in London.
The judges praised a culture where staff put patients at the centre of everything they do and highlighted developments including the launch of a specialist emergency assessment unit which opened in December and received significant national attention.
“We wanted to change how everyone – from commissioners to managers and clinicians – thinks about how we manage older people,” said Dr Daniel Baylis, clinical lead for acute and older persons medicine at UHS.
“Now, as soon as an older person is dropped off by an ambulance at the emergency department they are taken to a new purpose-built area of the hospital.
“This is a calm space staffed by nurses, doctors, therapists and social workers with the expertise and sole aim of getting the best results for patients who, a few years ago, would have tended to lie for four to five hours on a trolley.”
Care of the older person
The award also recognised the creation of a new hub activity centre on the wards, made by possible by a £90,000 investment from Southampton Hospital Charity and the League of Friends of UHS.
This offers a focal point to the unit for exercise classes, cinema nights, meals and activities, while patients and their relatives are also encouraged to walk around the unit to maintain their muscle mass and keep functionally active.
“When people are admitted to hospital we want to do everything we can to support them to get up, get active and to socialise,” said therapist Linda Snook and MOP matron Steve Hicks.
“Initiatives on the unit have been really well received by patients who have seen their average length of hospital stay reduce significantly.”
Dr Baylis added: “We as a team in medicine for older people are so proud of the progress we have made and it is a fantastic feeling to be recognised nationally for our work.
“This has been a team effort and we would like to thank our clinical commissioning groups, surrounding NHS trusts and councils who have all played a significant part in this journey with us.”
The ceremony, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the NHS’, was attended by guests including Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.
Posted on Thursday 25 April 2019