West Suffolk Hospital opens dedicated unit to support frail patients

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds

A dedicated unit has been set up at West Suffolk Hospital to provide vulnerable older patients with specialist care to help speed their recovery.

A total of 21 beds on ward G5 have been transformed into the hospital’s FAME unit, which stands for Frailty Acute Medicine for the Elderly. It cares for patients over the age of 75 who need to stay in hospital for more than 72 hours.

Patients are admitted to FAME from the emergency department or F7, the hospital’s short stay ward, when a specialist assessment shows they have a moderate to high frailty score. This means they are partially or completely dependent on others to complete everyday tasks and personal care.

On the ward, their care is coordinated by the older people’s assessment team, which is led by geriatricians.

During their stay their medication will be reviewed and anyone who may need further care on discharge, such as those who suffers frequent falls, will be signposted to the appropriate place for follow up.

Hospital staff will also work with community matrons to ensure the right support is in place when the patients return home.

The geriatrician will then follow up patients at clinics in the community, in turn ensuring they receive continuity of care and a seamless, joined up service.

Lesley Standring, integration lead for medicine at the hospital, said: “Our new frailty unit is helping us to further improve the care which older, more vulnerable patients receive as well as the experience they have when accessing health services.

“As well as making sure patients receive specialist care from a dedicated team skilled in looking after those with frailties, we hope that FAME will help reduce length of stay, and readmissions, as well as the number of times patients are moved between wards.

“It will also play a key role in helping us continue providing the best possible care as our population continues to age in the coming years, both while they are in hospital and after their discharge.”