New One Stop Service for Frail Older People

A new ‘one-stop’ service has been introduced in Forth Valley to improve the care and treatment of frail, older people and help reduce avoidable hospital admissions. The service enables GPs to refer patients to a Rapid Access Clinic based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert where a range of tests and investigations can be carried out at the same time. These include blood tests, X-rays, scans as well as a range of cognitive tests. Assessments would also be carried out by a Consultant Geriatrician.

A number of appointments are available Monday to Friday (8.30am – 5pm) for older people who meet certain criteria.  This includes people aged 65 and over currently being cared for in a nursing and residential home who require tests or treatment and people aged 75 and over living at home who may require to be assessed for a number of reasons perhaps because they have suffered a recent fall, are confused or have problems walking.

The new frailty service is run in conjunction with social work and allied health professionals who are able to put a package of care and support in place which will normally allow patients to return home the same day.  Anyone referred to the clinic who does need to stay in hospital will move to a new inpatient frailty unit where they will be assessed by a specialist multidisciplinary team to help identify their needs. A targeted programme of treatment can then be delivered to enable patients to return home, with follow up care and support, if required.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant Geriatrician Dr Liz Millar said:

 It’s well documented that staying in hospital a long time can lead to older people losing their confidence and mobility and we know that most older people want to return to their own home as soon as possible.  By providing rapid access to a wide range of specialist care, treatment and support we can streamline their care, improve their experience and help them to return home to live as independent a life as they can.”

The Rapid Access Clinic, which is based in the Rehabilitation Unit on the ground floor of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, has its separate entrance with a drop off point and parking spaces. Patients are encouraged to come to the clinic in their own transport, ideally with a family member or carer who will be included in the assessment process. –