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Opening of Windsor Unit to improve care of frail patients

Posted: 9 August 2016
Kelly White, Communications

Picture of Professor David Oliver cutting a blue ribbon that's in front of two doorsWindsor unit was officially opened last Thursday by Professor David Oliver to the delight of a team of doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff at Watford Hospital (Thursday 4 August 2016).

An integrated frailty service was introduced in April 2016 to provide comprehensive geriatric assessment to frail adults attending the hospital as an emergency. The service has improved the quality of care we provide to frail adults by better identification and awareness of people living with frailty, as well as early proactive assessment and management.

A multidisciplinary team comprising a frailty nurse specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and social worker assess patients jointly and produce a comprehensive geriatric assessment. This includes the medical, psychological, and functional capabilities of the person and describes a coordinated and integrated plan for treatment and follow-up.

The Windsor unit team are helping to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions by thoroughly assessing whether hospital admission is needed, rather than admitting people to hospital for an assessment.

Patients who would not benefit from hospital admission are provided with alternative support including home with rapid response, transfer to a community bed or social respite care or voluntary sector support.

Professor David Oliver is President of the British Geriatric Society and Clinical Vice President of the Royal Collge of Physicians and a national expert on care of Older People. He said “there are now 21 frailty units around the country who have formed an Acute Frailty network to advance the care of this very important group. It is excellent to see that West Herts has invested in developing a service for this population. This initiative has a great potential to do the right thing for patients to avoid hospital associated risk of harm and get home faster.”

Speaking about the new service, Tammy Angel, Divisional Director for Unscheduled care said: “we have already seen over 300 people and 58% achieved discharge home after thorough assessment in Windsor unit. We have listened to our patients – who did not like to be seen in a ‘frailty unit’ and it has been named Windsor unit by the patients panel, as many people know the older peoples service at Hemel Hospital was based in the Windsor wing there.”

During July 2016, 72 patients who received care in Windsor unit rated the care they received; 100% of the patients said they were likely to recommend the service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment.

Helen Hunter-Ward, a leukaemia sufferer for over 16 years, received treatment in the Frailty Unit. The leukaemia causes Helen’s haemoglobin levels to drop suddenly leaving her in need of urgent help. She was transferred to the Windsor Unit to receive blood transfusions. “I’ve had excellent care here,” she says. “It’s been a very positive experience and the staff are extremely kind”.

For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our near 5,245 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).

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  1. For more information, please contact Kelly White, Senior Communications Officer in the Trust’s communications department on telephone: 01923 436 281 or email: info@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228 031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust serving people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three sites at Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals and sees about 600,000 patients a year. We are one of the largest employers locally, with around 4,500 staff and volunteers.