Routine screening to reduce unnecessary admissions and support timely discharge in Bournemouth hospitals

ContactGemma Brittan, OPAL Team Lead, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
AddressCastle Lane East, Bournemouth, BH7 7DW

What is being done?

The Older Persons Assessment and Liaison for Dementia (OPAL) team is routinely screening all patients who attend the Emergency Department (ED), Acute Admissions Unit (AAU) and patients triaged to Medicine for the Elderly (MFE) to identify patients over the age of 65 that need assessment and management by an older person’s specialist whether it be therapist, nurse or consultant geriatrician.

What is new and different?

Key features of the service include:

  • Offer comprehensive collateral history, functional assessment, cognition, mood and behaviour assessment.
  • Support timely discharge from hospital.
  • Promote ongoing assessment and early diagnosis.
  • Outreach service supports environmentally sensitive assessment and care planning.
  • Direct referrals to the specialist services.

What difference this seems to be making

The impact of Older Persons Assessment and Liaison (OPAL) for Dementia include:

  • Increased number of older patients avoid admission from ED/AAU.
  • Average length of stay has reduced from 35 to 18 days.

Plans for taking the project forward

  • Increase outreach capacity for dementia patients being discharged from MFE wards.
  • Rotate staff across service settings to increase staff knowledge and awareness across the entire dementia care pathway.