SFEI (Safeguarding Frail Elderly Inpatients), a leading advocate for the well-being of frail elderly patients, has announced the launch of a new nationwide campaign and petition. The campaign and petition call on the NHS to improve the current infrastructure of small UK hospitals and offer safe care for the growing number of frail, elderly patients.
SFEI’s campaign urges the NHS to introduce frailty guardians and adequately staffed acute frailty wards in all hospitals, tailored to meet the unique needs of older patients. Without the establishment of these wards, the healthcare system is failing the frail elderly.
Other key points of the campaign include:
- Improved patient safety of the growing population of elderly by ensuring support is available for eating, drinking, basic hygiene, and toileting for those admitted through the acute route.
- Address the inequity within the NHS in terms of the provision of healthcare for frail, elderly inpatients who do not live in large cities by ensuring that all NHS hospitals have appropriately equipped and staffed Acute Frailty Wards available for their care and treatment upon admittance.
- Address the increased incidents of ‘missed care’ experienced by the frail elderly inpatient.
- Create of the role of ‘frailty guardian’ to advocate for and safeguard frail, elderly inpatients ensuring that their needs and voices are heard.
As per data from the National Audit Office, the elderly are the largest users of the NHS with two thirds of inpatient beds being occupied by those over 65 years old. These numbers will continue to increase as our population ages with statistics telling us that the numbers of those over 85 years old are set to double by 2045. SFEI believes that if the NHS doesn’t act now to address how they care for the frail elderly, the nation will sleepwalk into another Mid Staffordshire situation where missed care and neglect lead to the deterioration and deaths of elderly patients.
“The increasing reports of ‘missed care’ and tolerance of the situation on hospital wards is extremely concerning with the frail elderly being those that are most likely to experience this neglect. Urgent action is needed to address this “, says Rachel E. O’Donnell, Founder of the SFEI National Campaign and Petition.
“There comes a time when we are no longer able to give our frail, elderly loved ones the level of medical support they need and it is at this point, when they are at their most sick and vulnerable, that we hand them over to NHS medical professionals as an inpatient, with the expectation that they will be cared for and safe.
“Often frightened, confused and overwhelmed at finding themselves on a hospital ward, the least they should expect is respect, kindness, and assistance with basic care from those charged with treating them.”
SFEI urges the public, stakeholders, healthcare professionals, and government authorities to join hands in supporting this vital campaign to safeguard the frail elderly in our society. To find out more information about the SFEI campaign, and to sign the petition, visit https://sfei.uk/