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Local MP learns how Pinderfields staff REACT to the needs of older people

Earlier this month Mark Temple, Future Hospital Programme Officer, accompanied Paula Sherriff MP on a visit to meet the future hospital project team at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and find out how they are adapting their services to better support frail older people.  In this blog, he shares his reflections of the day.

The team at Pinderfields Hospital have established a Rapid Elderly Assessment Care Team (REACT) made up of Elderly Care Consultants, junior doctors, therapists, nurses and social workers.

I joined Paula Sherriff, MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby and Kirkburton, on the acute assessment unit, where we saw first-hand how the team have implemented new ways of working to enhance the assessment and provision of care for older people.

Using a real patient story, it was fascinating to see the team demonstrate how they work together, drawing on skills and expertise, to co-ordinate the assessment of frail older people as soon as they arrive at hospital. The innovative approach used by the team at Pinderfields aims to ensure that older people have the treatment they need to meets all of their health and social care needs. REACT has now been in place for 24 months and it was clear how this initiative is enhancing the lives of Wakefield’s older population.

During the visit, Paula spoke of her delight at meeting the team and seeing for herself the impact on patient care.  It was great to hear her praising staff in her local trust for taking the lead in designing services that support the needs of older people and their families in communities.

At a time when the NHS is under immense pressure, it is important to continue to celebrate the will and determination of doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers, working together to deliver high quality care that puts patients first.

The RCP is committed to helping services ensure that patients receive care and treatment in the right place, at the right time and by the right professional. We also do a lot of work to directly support patients, helping to inform them about the different ways that they can be involved in important decisions about their own care.

A great example of this is our recently published hospital patient falls prevention guide, aimed at older patients and their families, which provides jargon free advice on how they can avoid falls in hospital.

The guide was produced to highlight the key finding from last year’s National Audit of Inpatient Falls that showed how minimising the risk of falls is essential to preventing serious injuries and avoiding unnecessary extended in-patient stays in hospital.

Providing this kind of information for patients and their families not only helps prevent falls, but also means that they are actively involved in their own care. Examining the whole pathway of care and identifying interventions that improve outcomes for patients is an essential part of continuous quality improvement and the Future Hospital Programme that I help to lead for the RCP. 

The visit with Paula Sherriff, was an invaluable opportunity to showcase the hard work of our Future Hospital development sites team.  It reinforced the value of placing patients at the centre of their own care and empowering them to be involved in how this is shaped from the outset.

Thank you to the Rapid Elderly Assessment Care Team at Pinderfields Hospital – not only for inviting me on a brilliant visit, but also for their enthusiasm and commitment to improve the care of your patients.

Dr Mark Temple, Future Hospital officer