Health and social care bodies across Northern Lincolnshire have used a £1.3m tranche of their Better Care Fund money to create a multi-disciplinary team to focus on care for frail elderly patients.

The team will be based at Scunthorpe General Hospital and comprise staff from:

  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust;
  • Rotherham and Doncaster and South Humber Foundation Trust; and
  • North Lincolnshire Adult Social Care.

The BCF-funded service is being commissioned jointly by North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and North Lincolnshire Council from a regional fund for 2015-16 worth £12.4m.

The Frail Elderly Assessment Team is due to be operational from the autumn and will work seven days a week.

The team will be led by a consultant with a special interest in elderly care supported by three advanced nurse practitioners and nursing staff.

Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, therapy support staff, mental health practitioners, social workers and a discharge coordinator will also be on the team.

Karen Fanthorpe, deputy chief operating officer at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, said: “This is exciting news for frail and elderly patients, and their families and carers, as they will have rapid access to a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of staff.

“The aim is to keep people out of hospital if clinically appropriate. If they do need admitting, the team will ensure they are discharged in a timely and effective manner. It will help to prevent unnecessary admissions, and ensure timely and appropriate transfers of care to either a specialist acute elderly care environment, or an alternative community setting when required.”

Patients will be referred into the service by Scunthorpe’s emergency care centre, the East Midlands Ambulance Service, GPs, community matrons, or emergency care practitioners. They will only be referred to FEAST if they meet the Bournemouth criteria, which includes people:

  • over the age of 90;
  • aged over 65 years from a nursing or residential home or community hospital;
  • aged over 75 from home with two or more pre-existing conditions;
  • suffering acute confusion;
  • with a history of falls;
  • incontinence; and
  • reduced mobility or dementia. 

The team will operate a chair-based unit where patients will receive a full comprehensive geriatric assessment without the need to be admitted to hospital.

A new short-term frailty assessment unit will also be created for those patients who need a short stay, typically between 48 to 72 hours.