The UK population is ageing at an increasing rate and frailty is becoming a more prevalent condition, which is why Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has worked closely with other local health providers and patients to develop a new frailty strategy which will support the population of Buckinghamshire in ageing well by staying well and living independently for longer.
The population in Buckinghamshire is expected to grow by 14% by 2033 with a 44% increase in people aged 60+ years and a 140% increase in people aged 90+ years. But these extra years of life are not always spent in good health, with many people developing conditions that reduce their independence and quality of life. Ageing well is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan nationally and in Buckinghamshire the new frailty strategy is an essential part of delivering the ageing well programme locally.
The frailty strategy will:
The new strategy focuses on prevention, early identification of health needs and improving the urgent community care available. This pro-active approach, alongside greater collaboration between primary, community, acute and social care, will support frail and elderly people to live independently for longer and receive treatment more quickly in the most appropriate location and by the most appropriate health professionals.
A hospital admission can have a significant impact on frail patients, who are twice as likely to be readmitted within 7 days of discharge, beginning a cycle of admissions which affect their ability to live independently and their continued wellbeing.
Finally, the third part of the strategy focusses on urgent community response (UCR). This means that the Trust’s multi-disciplinary team of health professionals aim to respond to urgent referrals for frail patients within 2 hours and a programme of support with care and rehabilitation. Having tested this approach towards the end of last year and at the start of 2021, the team found that only 4% needed to go to the Emergency Department (also known as A&E).