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Medical crises in older people

Date: 05 June 2015

Professor John Gladman and his research team set out to improve outcomes for frail older people being discharged rapidly from acute medical units, develop and test a specialist unit to care for people with mental health problems in a general hospital, and to find out more about the delivery of healthcare to care home residents.

The findings, which have been published in the journal Programme Grants for Applied Research, suggest that the use of a geriatrician working across the hospital/community interface was ineffective and that a different approach was required. The specialist unit of care improved quality of experience and was cost-effective and the team suggest that further attention is placed on this model of care. Through reviews and observational studies, the complexity of care home residents’ healthcare was highlighted. Models of care that follow the principles of comprehensive geriatric assessment can be developed and should recognise the critical role of the relationship between the GP and care home manager.

Professor Gladman said: “This programme was an amazing experience for me and my team. We built a broad-based team that continues to undertake work into the complex problems that affect the health and well-being of frail older people. We nurtured PhD students and members of the team developed personally and professionally. The network we developed of patients, public, the third sector, commissioners and providers has been a joy to work with. We are pleased to see that our work, although only a drop in the ocean of research knowledge, is having impact on thinking, training and practice. And, of course, we are pleased that we are able to build on this work in the applied clinical research we are currently conducting in acute care, in dementia care, in care home medicine and beyond."

Read the full report in Programme Grants for Applied Research.