Weekly clinics for frail elderly people in Hambleton and Richmondshire have been introduced as part of efforts to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (HRW CCG) has invested in the new clinics, which are run by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
These clinics take place on Monday afternoons at the Friary Community Hospital, Richmond, and on Thursday afternoons on the Rutson Ward at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton. Transport is available for those patients who require it.
Each clinic undertakes a full multi-disciplinary assessment of four patients per clinic with a team of a consultant geriatrician, occupational therapist, nurse/case manager, physiotherapist and a social worker from North Yorkshire County Council. The clinics are already up and running and patients are referred to them by their GP.
The assessment includes looking at factors including a patient’s home environment, their communication and nutritional needs, their health and their mobility and then developing an individual care plan for them.
The type of patient that is typically seen at the clinic are those who will be able to be discharged from care at the end of the assessment with a clear plan in place, not those patients who will need an immediate hospital admission or referral on to another specialty. The whole focus of the clinics is on working proactively with patients to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.
Dr Mark Hodgson, Aldborough St John GP and HRW CCG Governing Body member, said: “Investing in these frail elderly clinics and working with South Tees Hospitals to get them started is very important to us. The multi-disciplinary approach provides an excellent opportunity to care for patients in an appropriate way, without the need for people to be inappropriately admitted to hospital.
“As a GP, I want to do as much as I can ensure the right care is provided to my patients as soon as possible. By referring patients to this clinic they will receive appropriate support in a timely manner. Feedback from my GP colleagues so far has been positive; while it’s still early days it feels like it is a valued service.”
Dr James Dunbar, infectious diseases consultant at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “For most frail elderly patients, admission to an acute hospital is not in their best interest. This is an excellent new clinic. Patients are seen within a week and receive a thorough assessment. An appropriate care plan is formulated immediately which allows patients to return safely to their own homes.”