Hospital strengthens links with care homes
18 February 2013
Since taking up her appointment at Southend University Hospital last year, consultant community geriatrician Dr Leila Bafadhel, together with her consultant colleague Dr Sumathi Ragavan and Eastwood GP Dr Sarah Zaidi, has been on a quest to improve care for the elderly – both inside and outside hospital.
The latest mission has been to get together with local care home
managers to establish a 'best practice' steering group so that
communal care becomes less of a daunting prospect for the many
hundreds of people who can no longer fend for themselves.
With the emphasis increasingly on health care in the community,
such a close relationship with the care sector can help prevent
elderly patients being admitted to hospital unnecessarily, while at
the same time improving their everyday quality of life.
Dr Bafadhel said: "Moving from your own home to live in a care
home is naturally a massive step for anyone to take. Elderly people
fear it will mean loss of independence and purpose. But it can be a
very stimulating and motivating experience - if the quality of care
within the care home is good."
The best practice initiative has been enthusiastically received
by many care home proprietors in south Essex. The inaugural meeting
was chaired by community dementia specialist nurse, Jackie Smith,
who regularly visits care homes and has been pivotal in getting the
group together. Dr Bafadhel, who trained in Sheffield where there
is a long-established community geriatric health service, added:
"The ultimate goal is to drive up standards of elderly care.
"As part of the community geriatrics service and along with lead
local GPs and professionals in the area, we are providing teaching
on the so-called 'geriatric giants' - falls, continence, cognition,
mood, nutrition and addressing the burden of multiple medications
with associated side effects - to care home managers and
staff. These multi-disciplinary inreach teams for care homes
help to strengthen relationships between care homes, community
specialists and the hospital.
The steering group will be meeting again on May 9.
Dr Bafadhel added: "We will be sharing more good ideas in line
with the national 'My home life' project. The best practice
steering group initiative is designed to help to try and prevent
our frail elderly population from feeling isolated and to find the
most effective way of engaging with them and with one another. The
feedback from care home managers is that they felt lines of
communication are beginning to be made. It sounds very simple, but
we need to get it right."
With pic:Dr Leila Bafadhel (centre) with other members of the