Christine McAlpine is a consultant geriatrician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. She served on the Working Group which developed the BGS’ Fit for Frailty guidance and was Chairman for some years, of the BGS Clinical Effectiveness and Quality Committee.
10% of patients admitted to hospital as an emergency stay more than two weeks, using 55% of all hospital bed days, and 80% of that group are aged over 65 years.
The average age of a hospital inpatient is over 80. Good care for older people in acute care is a key priority for health services.
In 2012 Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) was asked by the Scottish Government to “improve acute care for older people by March 2014”. A review of the published evidence plus the themes coming from the inspections of acute care services for older people suggested there were opportunities for improvement in the care of frail older people coming in to hospital, and that in particular delirium was often undetected with resulting poor outcomes for patients (including higher risks of death or institutionalisation).