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Help older people avoid hospital

13 December 2017
Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is urging communities and carers to help older people avoid the need to visit hospital.

Dr Stephen Wallis, consultant geriatrician at CUH, said: “We are seeing high numbers of older patients coming to hospital as an emergency when it may not be the best place for them to be managed.

“Currently, more than 12,000 over 75s are admitted each year on an emergency basis and being in hospital is not always the best option.” 

Dr Stephen WallisFor any non-emergencies, the public should not come to A&E, but should use alternatives, such as GPs, pharmacies, NHS 111 and minor injury units.

Dr Wallis added: “Communities can look out for their older peers by making sure they are warm, and that they have enough to eat and drink. They may also appreciate help with chores and shopping - particularly if they find it difficult to manage when it is icy outside.

“If people do need to come into hospital, we want to keep them active and help them get back home as soon as possible. Research shows that every ten days someone over 80 spends in bed ages their muscles by 10 years.

“Within the hospital we have set up a frailty flagship pathway which looks at how we care for older, frailer patients to reduce deconditioning and hospital complications, in order to promote independence and thereby reduce their length of stay.”