Silver Frailty Line offers improved care for the elderly in Bedfordshire
Age Concern Luton welcomes new initiative
A pioneering new scheme to speed up and improve care for the frail and elderly has been welcomed by Age Concern Luton.
The Silver Frailty Line has been put in place by the East of England Ambulance Trust and Bedfordshire Hospitals Foundation Trust and will enable patients to be treated in their own homes or taken straight to a specialist ward, bypassing the emergency department.
It has been introduced ahead of what is expected to be a busy winter, with the NHS still affected by the Covid pandemic.
Commenting on the project, ACL director Colette McKeaveney said: "Anything that speeds up getting help to those who are ill has to be a good thing.
"Most people, including older folk, prefer to stay out of hospital if possible, with the proviso that they will still get good care.
"No-one one wants a long wait in A&E and it sounds really positive that, when necessary, they can be admitted straight to the care of a specialist team."
She added: "This winter looks like it will be particularly challenging and it’s right to be thinking about making the best use of NHS and social care resources.
"An important part of community-based healthcare is ensuring that there is good, skilled social care and sufficient home care to support frail people at home - this will be an important factor in keeping people out of hospital."
Since the introduction of the pathway, more than half of patients at the L&D were admitted to a specialist ward without having to wait in the emergency department first.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System executive lead Felicity Cox said: "The Silver Frailty Line is a great example of what we can achieve when we work together to improve outcomes.
"The growing pressure we're seeing as a result of the pandemic is being felt across the country and our focus is to look for innovative ways to make sure residents can access the care they need quickly and safely.
"We know many older people prefer to be treated at home and this gives ambulance crews the option to give residents specialist care or bypass the emergency department which speeds up call times."
Deputy CEO and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust medical director Dr Tom Davies added: "The Silver Frailty Line is a fantastic pathway for frontline staff to ensure that our patients can be treated in the most appropriate setting for their need and overall wellbeing."