Weston hospital’s frailty service scoops award

Weston Area Health NHS Trust's Geriatric Emergency Medicine Service has been presented with a region

Weston Area Health NHS Trust's Geriatric Emergency Medicine Service has been presented with a regional award. - Credit: Archant

The geriatric emergency medicine service (GEMS) at Weston General Hospital has won a regional award for urgent and emergency care.

GEMS won the accolade at the NHS Parliamentary Awards, beating accident and emergency departments at larger hospitals from Bristol to Cornwall.

The service is run by a small multi-disciplinary team and treats frail patients over 75 and those who care for them.

Weston has one of the oldest populations coming through A&E compared to any hospital in the country.

GEMS takes a holistic approach to the patient and, as well as a clinical assessment, the team looks at the patient's home environment, medication and cognition to work out what brought them to A&E.

Clinical lead for the service Dr Rachael Morris said: "We are absolutely thrilled to win the award.

"Older people living with frailty are a vulnerable group with complex needs and we're privileged to care for them.

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"Patients arrive frightened and worried - often not about their health but over things like who's looking after the dog.

"They may have missed a meal and are parched. Our first question is do they want a cup of tea.

"We then sit and talk to them to understand their needs, conduct a full gold-standard, comprehensive geriatric assessment and decide 'what next' together - admitting into hospital if needed.

"The patient is always at the heart of what we do. We want them to be in control of their health.

"Alongside the patient and relatives, we plan for the future to maximise as good a quality of life as possible."

The nomination was supported by Weston MP John Penrose. He said: "Rachel has done incredible work with her team in developing Weston A&E's acute frailty service - the first of its kind.

"With Weston having one of the country's oldest populations coming through A&E, the specialist support and diagnosis have meant better results for patients, as well as less anxiety for patients and their families at what can be a pretty frightening and stressful time.

"I'm sure the whole of Weston will be backing Rachael and her team to pick up the national award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards Ceremony in the Palace Of Westminster on July 10."