More elderly patients at Ipswich Hospital to return home quicker after therapy team extends hours

The Emergency Therapy Team at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

The Emergency Therapy Team at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL - Credit: Archant

More elderly patients at Ipswich Hospital are expected to return home quicker after a specialist support team extended its weekly operating hours.

The Emergency Therapy Team (ETT), a specialist admission avoidance therapy team, will offer an extended service from 8am to 8pm every day of the year from April 1. The weekly total of 84 hours is up from 60 previously.

The team aims to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and help to discharge successfully those who have received care and are clinically fit to go home.

The therapy team, launched in 2010, is one of only a handful nationally to offer extended hours, and has recruited additional staff.

It is made up of occupational therapists, physiotherapists and therapy assistant practitioners, and works across the emergency department (ED), Brantham Assessment Unit, Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) and the Frailty Assessment Base.

Team members assess patients promptly after arrival and provide any therapy they may need or arrange specialist equipment, such as walking aids, to allow them to return home as soon as they are clinically fit, which avoids an admission to the wards.

Patients who require ongoing hospital care will be directed to the right wards for their needs.

Most Read

Hannah Lord-Vince, advanced occupational therapist and team lead, said: “Our aim is to make sure that people coming in the front door see the appropriate professionals as quickly as possible so that we can try and stop them from being admitted to the wards wherever clinically appropriate. This is because research shows us that frail, elderly patients with a longer length of stay find it much more difficult to regain their independence afterwards.

“By extending our hours, we will be able to assess patients into the evenings and across the whole weekend. This means that people arriving at hospital later in the afternoon will receive therapy input more quickly. Previously, they may have had to wait until the next day to see a specialist.”

The therapy team completed 7,213 patient assessments between October 2015 and September 2016.

Of these, an admission was avoided in 79% of cases referred from the emergency department, the fracture clinic and Brantham Assessment Unit.

Some 19% of patients seen in the EAU were also assessed and discharged the same day.