New unit at West Suffolk Hospital aims to improve care for the elderly

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

A dedicated unit has been set up at West Suffolk Hospital to provide vulnerable older patients with specialist care to help speed their recovery while making sure the right support is in place when they return home.

A total of 21 beds have been transformed into the hospital’s FAME unit, which stands for Frailty Acute Medicine for the Elderly.

“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,” said Lesley Standring, integration lead for medicine at the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

“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 stays, and readmissions, as well as the number of times patients are moved between wards.”

The unit cares for patients over 75 who need to stay in hospital more than 72 hours.

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Patients are admitted to FAME from the emergency department or the hospital’s short-stay ward, when a specialist assessment shows they have a moderate to high frailty score.

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

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During their stay their medication will be reviewed and anyone who may need further care on discharge 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 have follow-up appointments with patients at clinics in the community.

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