Dedicated staff support frail patients

Date: 24 February 2020


A specialist team at the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Emergency Department in Oxford has helped nearly double the number of safe and timely discharges of frail patients since being launched in 2018.

The Frailty Intervention Team (FIT), which launched in October 2018, helps patients 65 years of age and over with frailty conditions such as falls and related injuries by assessing them within two hours of their admission to the Emergency Department.

The team, which is made up of a mixture of occupational therapists and physiotherapists, works alongside Emergency Department staff to give a frailty-focussed assessment, looking specifically at ways that patients can be treated quickly, appropriately, and safely. The team can also help with referring patients onto supporting services, such as the Home Assessment Reablement Team (HART).

The team have also helped reduce the length of time patients stay in hospital following admission.

In September 2018, prior to the team’s launch, an average of 591 older patients were discharged every month. In August 2019, the average figure was 1042 older patients being discharged every month.

The team are available between 8am and 8pm every day, with an additional Frailty Occupational Therapist at the Horton General Hospital every day between 8am and 4pm.

Felicity Beckley, Lead Occupational Therapist in the team, said: “There have been so many benefits to our team seeing frail patients on their admission to our Emergency Departments.

“Following a fall, some patients can really have a knock to their confidence. It can be quite a frightening experience, and being admitted to Emergency Departments can add to the stress too. We’re able to speak directly to the patient, assess them, and quickly work out what the best treatment for them will be. By carrying out joint assessments with our medical colleagues, it saves patients having to tell multiple people what’s wrong with them – which is one less thing for them to worry about when they’re in hospital.

“Because the team has such a mix of therapists and work with other supporting services, we’re able to tailor the treatment for our patients. Treatment like physio and physical therapy can make a real difference to a patient’s recovery, and by supporting them through their treatment plan we can hopefully make them feel supported, more confident, and more comfortable. The transition from hospital to home can sometimes make patients quite anxious, but by putting together a personalised care plan we’re able to make sure they receive appropriate and continued support throughout their treatment.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer for the Trust, said: “The Frailty Intervention Team has made a real difference to some of our more frail patients. Their unique insight challenges the idea that frailty automatically means admission to hospital.

“We have talked a lot this winter about our system’s ‘Home First’ approach to care. By working with teams like FIT within our trust, as well as across the health and social care system, we’re able to help patients receive treatment closer to home and away from hospital.”

  • Summary:

    More frail patients leave hospital promptly

  • Transformation:
  • Date:
    24 February 2020