Working together to make a difference for people with frailty in Oban

Oban

by Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist

In December 2017 some of our team went to Oban to learn about how partnership working and a focus on prevention and early intervention is having a positive impact on outcomes for frail older people.

The Oban multidisciplinary team

It is 21st December, and the meeting room at Lorn Medical Centre is packed with colleagues from across health, social care and the third sector. This is what it is like every Wednesday morning, except for the festive touch of the mince pies on the table. It is amazing to see the turnout for this frailty multidisciplinary team meeting, and to learn more about people’s backgrounds, and the skills and knowledge that they bring to the table.

The team meets every Wednesday morning to discuss patients with mild, moderate and severe frailty, and this work is bottom-up and clinician-led: the team gets together every week to share information in this way because they find it valuable, not because they have been told to work in this way. The team is truly multidisciplinary, with representation from social care and the third sector: in addition to GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and dieticians, a social worker, an exercise professional and the centre manager from North Argyll Carers Centre join the weekly meetings. The team are also supported by an administrative assistant and the practice manager, who runs the electronic frailty index (eFI) on the Vision system. They have also been looking at SPARRA and high health gain data.

Reablement project

Derek Laidler, Physiotherapy Team Lead, gave us an overview of the Oban reablement project, while Lianne from our team went on a reablement home visit to see the work that they do first hand.

Reablement services in Oban are delivered by Healthy Options, a social enterprise. Healthy Options offer interventions for people who are pre-frail. People who are at risk are referred to Healthy Options, and the aim is to prevent deterioration. The project was a response to funding constraints in primary care and the pressures of increasingly complex patients and an ageing population. It is a demand-reducing model, rather than capacity-increasing.

Healthy Options used to be very much based in Atlantis Leisure Centre. However, there are now classes in villages that people are able to attend. The support offered is both physical and social, and deals with the whole person. This collaboration with the third sector has been in place in the area for a number of years.

Staff use the eFI and the Edmonton Frail Scale to identify people with frailty and direct them towards appropriate support. 100 people have been identified through case finding, and people are referred into the project through clinician concern.

The Oban Living Well initiative is a mild frailty rehabilitation and reablement approach, and the Active and Independent Living Programme has been a driver for the programme.

Derek explained that most physio referrals are made at a crisis point, which is reactive, and that the benefits are not as long lasting as intervening at an earlier stage: if people go on an exercise programme to maintain the ability to walk 400m, they retain this ability for two and a half years, whereas the benefits of intervening at a later stage and helping people to regain the ability to transfer themselves from the toilet only last six to eight weeks.

The project staff consider that we should be intervening before people are on the Lifecurve, and have produced a list of activities above the Lifecurve, where people should be targeted with early interventions.

Lifecurve slide

Healthy Options would intervene when people are struggling to run half a mile, or run to catch a bus, and physios would intervene when people are having difficulties climbing stairs and getting up from the floor. There is still a role for Healthy Options with very frail patients, but it is limited. However, they can make people who are mildly frail better.

Derek presented some case studies, which demonstrated how exercise programmes delivered by Healthy Options are reversing people’s frailty scores and improving their health and wellbeing. One older gentleman has regained the ability to take the bus independently and engage in social activities again, while an older lady who was afraid of falling now has increased confidence and improved gait and posture after completing a 12-week exercise programme and attending strength and balance classes.

Moderate frailty project

Pauline Jespersen, Advanced GP Nurse, described the moderate/severe frailty project, which is running from October 2017 to March 2018. It is being delivered by four GPs (three qualified GP trainers). The project lead is a district nurse, and a physio, OT and pharmacist are also involved in the project. So far they have scanned 80 patients.

Their referral pathway takes a whole-system approach:

  • Edmonton frail scale score 0-5 – Healthy Options
  • Edmonton 6-7 vulnerable, 8-9 mild frailty – physio, Lorn and Islands Hospital reablement team
  • Edmonton 10-11 moderate frailty – Lorn Medical Centre.

The team are aware of all the options in the third sector and can pass on a referral, where appropriate. Their assessment form records people’s conditions, social circumstances and medication, and they are also using the DeJong Gierveld Loneliness Scale as part of the assessment process.

They have a meeting at 9am on a Wednesday, where they discuss the patients that were identified the week before. The frailty team then have a huddle to allocate work. The team double up to mentor staff and support them with enhanced assessment. Visits for enhanced assessment are an hour minimum.

In the afternoon they have a feedback huddle. In some cases they may need to do de-prescribing, and pharmacy assistants help to manage the change and take away old medication. They have been carrying out evaluation with patients and staff. There have been clinical and MDT tutorials, and nurses are doing formal educational modules. Oban has lost a lot of advanced nurses in recent years, so upskilling staff has been an important part of the project.

The process is as follows:

  1. Advanced clinical assessment
  2. Edmonton frail scale
  3. Polypharmacy review
  4. Loneliness questionnaire
  5. Checking ACP and DNACPR are in place
  6. MDT discussion of findings
  7. Interventions
  8. Evaluation

The team have seen 80 patients so far, but there have been a lot more than 80 contacts. The initial assessment that is conducted is accepted by everyone – they do not have different groups of professionals coming in and conducting their own assessments. Secondary care is involved in the management of moderate and severe frailty, and advanced nurses work across primary and secondary care. There is an emphasis on home care and avoiding hospital admission.

Healthy Options

We then went on to visit Healthy Options to learn more about their work. This social enterprise clearly demonstrates how a community-owned resource can meet public health needs. Roy Clunie, one of the directors, observed that there is a growing number of people with chronic conditions, and many of these people’s conditions could be managed or improved through a change to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Options was established by the community, and staff are drawn from the health, business, fitness and community sectors. A public health dietician, Jacqualin Barron is seconded to them one day a week. Healthy Options, Atlantis Leisure Centre and health professionals all work in partnership. The Healthy Options staff are highly qualified, and are entitled to attend NHS training courses.

We went on a short walk from the Healthy Options offices to Atlantis Leisure Centre, where we were able to see some of their staff working with clients. One older gentleman was working on the treadmill and cross trainer in the gym, under the instruction of trainer Kirsty, while two ladies were doing a seated exercise class in the dance studio. All of them were very enthusiastic about the support that they were receiving, and the beneficial impact that it has had on their health.

Healthy Options have worked with Atlantis Leisure Centre to make the gym more welcoming for people who are not typical gym goers. The centre manager removed some of the exercise bikes from the gym to create more space and make it easier for people with a high BMI to use the facilities. The consultation process is co-produced, and people can choose the activities that interest them, whether this is swimming, classes or going on the rowing machine. They offer supervised gym sessions and a healthy living outreach programme at the MS Centre.

In addition to delivering a reablement programme and self-management support, Healthy Options is also working with vulnerable social housing tenants, and they have a part-time health liaison officer. They are also working with partners on a healthy village pilot in Taynuilt, with falls prevention, Healthy Options exercise and classes, tai chi and a self-management class.

An example to develop in other areas?

It is clear that the Oban frailty project’s prevention and early intervention approach is having a positive impact on people with frailty, helping them to maintain their independence and keep up with all the activities that they enjoy, from singing in the choir to walking football. By working together across the whole system in a genuine partnership, and involving a third sector partner that is able to offer tailored support for people in the early stages of frailty, Oban is meeting the challenges of population ageing head on, improving the health of its inhabitants, and supporting people to live as well as they can at home, for as long as they can.

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Fun for all ages: intergenerational work with Thomson Court Care Home and Apple Tree Nursery on Bute

by Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist

“Let’s see what I can do to get it.”

Sadie, a resident at Thomson Court Care Home in Bute, is playing hoopla, and is determined to score. Sitting on either side of her are some children from the local nursery, cheering her on: “Go Sadie!”

This is just a normal Wednesday afternoon at Thomson Court, where the residents have regular visits from the children at nearby Apple Tree Nursery.

Inspired by the example of a care home in Canada that had co-located a staff nursery to increase resident contact with children, Unit Manager Sheila Scott wondered if there was the potential to do something similar at Thomson Court. Sheila had noticed that many residents in the home were not seeing their great-grandchildren on the mainland, and Appletree Nursery, where her daughter Stephanie works, is very proactive in working with the community.

Getting the ball rolling

The children first visited the care home in summer 2015, when they helped to paint the fence and planted sunflower and lettuce seeds. ‘Cameron’s Auntie Nan and her friend Sadie made sure that we painted it all,’ reads one of the quotations from the day. The initiative was such a success that it has led to a regular programme of indoor and outdoor activities between the care home residents and the children.

The nursery staff have compiled a floor plan with photographs and feedback from all their sessions, which map activities to health and wellbeing outcomes to demonstrate their beneficial impact. The care home also keeps its own activity records, although they are increasingly using the nursery’s Facebook page to share photographs from the sessions with families.

Looking back over the past couple of years, it is inspiring to see the breadth and variety of activities that have taken place in the care home: ‘dooking’ for apples at Halloween, music and movement sessions, baking and biscuit decorating, puppets and nursery rhymes, and a raspberry tea, to name but a few. At Christmas the children made gifts for the residents and table mats for their Christmas dinner, and Santa came to visit them all. The children have also made cards for the residents for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and there are plans for the residents to attend a concert at the nursery this Christmas.

Fundraising efforts

The nursery has also helped to raise money to pay for resources that support the residents’ wellbeing. They held a bake sale, which raised enough money to pay for a therapy doll for a resident who has dementia, and the children helped to choose the doll that was purchased. They also raised funds for a material cat and a pram, which are calming for residents.

Benefits for young and old alike

The nursery and care home staff have observed that the intergenerational activities are having a positive impact on both the residents and the nursery children. Sheila comments that the regular Wednesday sessions provide a good break for residents in the afternoon. The residents choose whether or not to attend, and one resident who initially was not interested in joining in the activities because he has a lot of family of his own living locally started to come along when he saw how much fun everyone was having! The daughter of one of the residents has commented that the children ‘generally light the place up’, and that both the residents and the children love it.

Lesley-Anne Lee, the nursery manager, observes that ‘our weekly visit to our Thomson friends has given children new experiences and emotions’ and they appreciate that the residents are teaching the children ‘maybe without them realising’. She also comments that ‘the bond between the vast age differences is a joy to see.’

The nursery children have forged close friendships with the residents, and one of the nursery pupils, Maisie, who has now moved up to primary school, formed a particularly close bond with Barbara, and enjoyed painting her fingernails. ‘Barbara is my friend, she’s my best girl,’ she said, and her father observed that ‘Maisie loves Thomson Court.’

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Learning about life

The regular visits have made the children more aware of disabilities, and helped them to learn about the whole of life, including its end. The children visited one of the residents’ rooms to look at old photographs and learn about what her life was like when she was younger, and they have also started a memory garden at the nursery to commemorate residents who have passed away.

Sheila comments that most of the residents have dementia, which affects their ability to communicate, and that the children help to bring them out of their shell. One resident, who previously did not talk very much, became very animated when the children visited.

After an hour packed with games, and a break for cake and juice, it is time for the children to head back to the nursery school. ‘I want to stay at Thomson Court because it’s so much fun,’ pipes up one of the children. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of the staff at both the nursery and the care home, it is easy to understand why they do not want to leave.

To find out more about the intergenerational work at Thomson Court, contact Sheila Scott, Unit Manager: Sheila.scott@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Tackling fuel poverty: how Home Energy Scotland supports older people with frailty

Advisor

by Ian Mountford, Communications Executive, Energy Saving Trust

The ihub Frailty and Falls Assessment and Intervention tool highlights a fuel poverty check as a key consideration when determining if someone is in a safe and suitable environment. Individuals experiencing fuel poverty often find it difficult to heat their home, and are worried about their fuel bills.

Support

If you have identified an individual who needs support, a good place to start is by speaking to Home Energy Scotland. Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust, their network provides free, impartial advice to help older people with frailty to:

  • save energy;
  • reduce heating costs;
  • access nationwide or local energy efficiency schemes;
  • maximise their income; and
  • identify and access any support available from their energy supplier.

Some households have saved £1,000 a year, and others have qualified for free heating and insulation.

Online referral

Home Energy Scotland welcome referrals and partner with a number of organisations that make use of their easy-to-use online referral portal, where clients can be securely referred and useful feedback can be obtained on referral outcomes. More information on the referral portal can be found in this short video.

Their trained advisors are located in five centres across Scotland, and give advice over the phone or in person. In addition, their community liaison teams support partner organisations with a range of advice and resources.

HES Homecare Pilot

Householders in the Moray East and Annandale and Eskdale health and social care partnership areas can benefit from extra help through a pilot project called HES Homecare. HES Homecare Energycarers visit people whose health makes them vulnerable to cold-related illness, and work with Care and Repair and Warmworks to make those homes easier – and cheaper – to heat. Contact HESHomecare@est.org.uk for more information.

To find out more about how Home Energy Scotland can support older people experiencing fuel poverty, you can visit their website, contact Mark Macleod, Stakeholder Relations Officer, on 0131 555 9151 or email HES_Partnerships@est.org.uk.

Testing the eFI in Scotland: focus on Midlock GP practice

 

Some members of the Living Well in Communities and Midlock teams at the NHSScotland event

The Living Well in Communities team is working with Health and Social Care Partnerships in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and Midlothian to test the electronic frailty index (eFI) to identify people over 65 who are living with frailty in the community. The Living Well in Communities team have developed an assets-based approach to support evidence-based interventions that are tailored to the individual. This article looks at the work to date with Midlock GP practice in Glasgow.

The testing in Midlock GP practice

The eFI uses GP read codes to calculate an individual’s degree of frailty and stratifies them into fit, mildly frail, moderately frail and severely frail. The tool has been validated in England. The purpose of testing at Midlock GP practice was to determine if the tool was accurate in a Scottish context. We have been working with a GP and other members of Glasgow City HSCP, including housing and the voluntary sector. The testing involved stratification of the GP population for frailty and reviewing case scenarios to determine if the eFI tool fits with a Scottish population. Continue reading “Testing the eFI in Scotland: focus on Midlock GP practice”

Using a population screening tool to identify people with frailty in the community: the e-frailty index

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by Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist

The Challenge

A person with frailty can experience serious adverse outcomes following even a relatively minor illness. Timely identification of frailty can help to reduce the likelihood of a poor outcome following an intervention (or eliminate the need for an intervention entirely) and support the long-term management of people’s health needs.

If we can identify people with frailty in the community, we can offer preventative support that could improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of unscheduled admissions.

There are a number of tools which professionals can use to screen people for frailty (see the British Geriatric Society’s Fit for Frailty guidance). However, many of these tools are based on questionnaires that require practitioners to have direct contact with individuals and can only be used to assess people who are actively engaged with services.  It would be resource-intensive and challenging for services to screen large population groups for frailty using these individual assessments.

The risk stratification tool, Scottish Patients at Risk of Re-admissions or Admissions (SPARRA) identifies individuals within the whole population at risk of hospital admission based on nationally-collected data on acute admissions and community prescribing.  However, it does not discriminate frailty from other high-risk population groups and can only identify individuals who are known to services, as they have had recent acute admissions or have been prescribed high-risk medications.  Alternative population screening tools are needed to identify people with frailty living in the community. Continue reading “Using a population screening tool to identify people with frailty in the community: the e-frailty index”

How care homes in Argyll and Bute are working to reduce falls

By Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

On 5th December I went along to the Argyll and Bute Care Homes Quality Improvement for Falls Prevention event. It was a really interesting day, and it was great to hear about the work that care home staff are doing to reduce falls and improve quality of life for their residents.

PDSAs and data

Dr Christine McArthur, Project Lead, introduced the day and Sheila Morris, Occupational Therapy Care Home Lead, gave an overview of Plan Do Study Act cycles and the role of data in improvement. She emphasised the importance of carrying out small tests of change and having a clear plan.

The project participants then had the opportunity to discuss a case study of a 72-year-old lady who had had a number of falls, considering risk factors such as polypharmacy and multiple complex conditions, and reviewing the data in the falls diary to identify whether there was a pattern to her falls.

The care home staff observed that people are increasingly coming in to care homes with more mobility problems and multiple conditions and co-morbidities. Sheila commented that everyone in the care home sector is at risk of falling and should have a multifactorial falls assessmentContinue reading “How care homes in Argyll and Bute are working to reduce falls”

Scottish Ambulance Service Falls and Frailty Pathways Action Group first meeting

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On 25th November 2016 the Living Well in Communities team from Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Improvement Hub (ihub) supported the first meeting of the Active and Independent Living Improvement Programme (AILIP) and Scottish Ambulance Service Falls and Frailty Action Group. This Storify summarises the discussions from the day. Presentations and other resources can be accessed on the Falls and Bone Health Community site.

 

Risk Prediction: Using the Electronic Frailty Index in Scotland

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We’re all aware of how important an issue frailty is, particularly the effect it has on a person’s quality of life.

Supporting people in the early stages of frailty could help them maintain independence and live healthier lives in their communities, time that would otherwise have been spent in hospital.

One of the ways Living Well in Communities are doing this is by looking at risk prediction tools to identify people at risk of frailty in the community. We can use these tools to help explore the types of support that would most benefit people.

Electronic Frailty Index

Our workshop in December 2015, involving experts across health, social care and data analytics, looked at the available risk prediction tools. We had great dialogue around what’s important for predictive tools and decided to test the electronic Frailty Index (eFI) in Scotland.

Unlike other prediction tools, it uses information outside of acute care to evaluate someone’s condition. It’s based on the cumulative deficit model of frailty, and uses GP read codes to analyse the number of ‘deficits’ an individual has, to score whether a person is Fit, Mildly Frail, Moderately Frail, or Severely Frail. Continue reading “Risk Prediction: Using the Electronic Frailty Index in Scotland”