Older People’s Care in Acute Settings Project - 2016 Findings Published

The NHS Benchmarking Network reports on the findings from the third annual phase of the Older People’s Care in Acute Settings project at a national conference in London today, 15th February 2017.

In 2015, the British Geriatric Society partnered with the NHS Benchmarking Network to develop a project to look at the acute services provided for older people in hospital, with the aim of enabling providers to access comparable benchmarks on key indicators and look at opportunities for improvements.

The Older People’s Care in Acute Settings project explores the pathway that people take through the acute hospital, beginning in A&E and assessment units, and moving through to inpatient wards and supported discharge teams.  In addition, the project includes a service user level audit that collects data on the patient episode.

Quote from Dr Eileen Burns, President of the BGS

“The Older People’s Care in Acute Settings project makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the range of professions and services available locally and nationally for our older patients.  The service user audit enables participating organisations to gain a better sense of what is happening at the level of the individual and the key areas of the acute pathway that require attention.”

Three key messages have emerged from the 2016/17 project that impact on the quality of care delivered for older people;

  • The use of CGA is increasing
  • Readmission rates are rising
  • Delayed transfers of care continue to grow

Data received from 1,400 service users who were admitted to older people’s wards showed that 56% of patients had previously been admitted to hospital within the last 12 months and one quarter were an emergency admission within 30 days of discharge (a 6-percentage point increase from the previous year).

52% of participants have a frailty unit, and 89% of these use Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA). The use of CGA is increasing on all wards. Senior medical cover on the frailty unit remains consistent with last year, at an average of 12 hours per weekday, and 10 hours at weekends (out of 24).

Since 2010, Councils have experienced a 40% reduction in core government funding, contributing to rapidly rising numbers of delayed transfers of care (DToC) from hospitals. Days lost due to DToC have increased by 76% since 2010 and 22% in the last 12 months, “Delayed Transfers of Care Time Series,” NHS England (2016). Older people are particularly vulnerable to delays with the benchmarking study finding that 83 percent of hospital DToCs in 2015/16 were attributable to people 65 years of age and over.  The service user audit found that the average length of the delay was 12 days in 2015/16.

With delayed transfers being highlighted as an issue for the NHS and part of the ‘NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2017-19’, next year’s benchmarking cycle for this project will focus on a deep dive of DToCs.

The 2016/17 project findings were published in March via a national summary report, and bespoke report to participating organisations, and an online toolkit will be made available to Network members following today’s event.

Download the 2016/17 National Report.

For further information, please contact Programme Manager, Debbie Hibbert at debbie.hibbert@nhs.net

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