Helping older people avoid hospital stay

Some of the staff working in the Older Person Assessment Unit in Craigavon Area Hospital.
Some of the staff working in the Older Person Assessment Unit in Craigavon Area Hospital.

Older patients in the Southern Trust are being transferred (when appropriate) from Emergency Departments to new specialist assessment units in hospitals in Craigavon.

This is part of an innovative approach aimed at helping older people avoid hospital admission, wherever possible.

Busy acute hospitals are not the best place for older patients and avoiding hospital admission not only improves their physical and mental health but also helps them maintain

their independence in the community.

The Older Person Assessment Unit in Craigavon Area Hospital opened in December 2017 and is located in the Outpatient Department.

The team can provide comprehensive assessment, diagnosis and treatment for patients who do not always need to be admitted to hospital or they can ensure patients are directed to the most appropriate service if required.

Melanie Mc Clements Interim Director for Older People and Primary Care services said: “We are really pleased that we’ve been able to treat so many patients in these new units so they haven’t needed to be admitted to hospital.

“Already we can see that 70 - 80% of the older patients who have been transferred from the Emergency Department to the units have been redirected away from an acute hospital to more appropriate community settings including our non-acute hospitals in Dungannon and Lurgan or have been supported to return back out to their own home.

“So many of the patients and their families have been very positive about the care they’ve been given in these units.”