Caring for Warwickshire's growing older generation

By Kevin Unitt Wednesday 28 November 2012 Updated: 28/11 08:34

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Buy photos » Improved care in the community is helping the area’s growing elderly population. (s)

PEOPLE are living longer these days but the trust which runs Warwick and Stratford hospitals is at the forefront of ways to support a growing older generation.

With the nights now drawing in, we spoke to South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) medical director Ian Philip about the ways they are responding to the rising elderly population and things which the community can do to play its part in helping older people keep themselves well this winter and beyond.

FRESH from their work with the elderly being praised in a national BBC report, SWFT is keen to showcase its efforts further.

Due to the rise in the number of elderly patients in south Warwickshire, the trust has implemented major system changes over the past year, including a new process which ensures elderly patients are seen by a doctor, who is a specialist in elderly care, as soon as they are admitted to hospital.

A number of services have also been introduced, such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to deliver care in patients’ own homes, where they often feel more confident as they are in a familiar environment around their loved ones.

Ian Philip, medical director at the trust for the last 18 months, described why the work was all so important.

He said: “If we hadn't have done all these things, had not made all these changes, we would need to have built another hospital as big as Warwick.

“The initiatives that we’ve introduced are focusing on ensuring elderly patients that are cared for by the trust are receiving the highest quality of care. A lot of organisations across the country are now looking at us and the work we are doing.

“Everybody wants to live longer and many people now are. What we perhaps once all thought of as old age – people in their 60s and 70s – no longer is. It really hit home when we had an audit recently and the first three patients we had in were all over 100 years old.

“The elderly use more healthcare than any other group so they will always needs us, but there are simple things people can do in their communities.

“Keep an eye out on your elderly neighbours, ask if they need their bins taking out or whether they have enough food in.

“It is important older people are never seen as a nuisance. “

Increased investment across the trust has also seen extra early intervention and preventative work in the local community to try to head off the need for some to come into hospital at all. This includes vision and hearing checks, supporting everyday activities and helping elderly people deal with loneliness and mental health issues.

But trust chief executive Gleny Burley said: “We will not rest on our laurels and we will continue to develop our services to provide the best possible care to South Warwickshire.”

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Buy photos» Trust medical director Ian Philip - “The initiatives that we’ve introduced are focusing on ensuring elderly patients that are cared for by the trust are receiving the highest quality of cares”. (s)

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