Learning about the healthcare of older people

04 Jul 2013 16:14:20.097

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A public conference is being held to share research into the healthcare of older people carried out by researchers from The University of Nottingham.

The conference will be an opportunity for the general public to find out about research carried out by the University’s Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, into the healthcare of frail older people in hospital and care homes.  

This unique event, which is taking place on Friday 5th July at Nottingham Contemporary Gallery, has been so successful that all places have now been filled.

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During the day, guests will also have the opportunity to view a documentary about specialist dementia care at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) and will be invited to have their say about what they consider to be the most important healthcare issues facing frail older people. 

Hospital care 

Guests will be able to hear Professor Rowan Harwood telling the story of the inspiration for the Medical and Mental Health Unit (MMHU) at the QMC and how it was developed and the research now evaluating its success.

Professor Harwood and a multidisciplinary team of clinicians from Nottingham University Hospital and Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust led the development of the MMHU in response to the growing concerns about poor quality hospital care for patients with dementia and confusion. The unit has won awards and been praised by many people (including MPs and the Daily Mail) as an innovative approach which has improved the culture of care for patients with dementia.

The healthcare needs of residents in care homes

Dr Adam Gordon will discuss how the results of a study in to the healthcare needs of residents in care homes are being used by healthcare commissioners to improve the healthcare of care home residents.

Dr Gordon said: “There has been little research into the health needs of care home residents. This project investigated how residents in long-term care access and use healthcare. The research has identified that care home residents have highly complex medical needs, together with many behavioural and physical problem which require expertise in management.

“However, GPs and care home staff feel that they have inadequate time and training to meet these needs. They also found it difficult to predict when residents will develop a health problem that will result in admission to hospital and struggle to work out when hospital admission is necessary.”

Reducing hospital admissions

Dr Judi Edams will be talking about how a team of researchers from the East Midlands studied the outcomes of older people following attendance and discharge from an acute medical unit (AMU). Acute medical units are the main receiving areas in hospitals for patients who do not require surgery or specialist care.

The AMU acts as a central hub, where patients can be stabilised, and then admitted for on-going care or discharged home or to community services. The team developed an intervention that might help reduce these adverse outcomes. This involved a geriatrician (a doctor specialising in the care of older people) undertaking an assessment prior to the patient leaving the AMU, in an attempt to ensure that they had resolved the best possible care. Where necessary, patients were further followed up by the geriatrician in the community. This new service was evaluated by the research team.

Opening speaker

Professor Finbarr Martin, Consultant Geriatrician from Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, London will also be the opening speaker at the conference. His main interests are within preventive strategies for falls to improve postural stability, psychosocial impact of this rehabilitation, delirium and frailty.

The findings of the medical and mental health unit research have been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and can be found at http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f4132.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

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More information is available from Charlotte Anscombe, Media Relations & Campaign Manager, Marketing, Communications & Recruitment, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 74 84 417, charlotte.anscombe @nottingham.ac.u

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