Barnsley healthcare professionals have a new approach to looking after people with frailty, tightening up on advanced care planning and preventing falls.

Frailty can be a significant problem for older people. They are at a greatly increased risk of falls, disability, loss of independence and needing long-term care, and hospital admissions.

Of the total population, 19% are aged over 65. Emergency hospital admissions for those aged over 65 and over 80 due to falls is significantly higher in Barnsley than the national average and the highest in Yorkshire and Humber.

To address this, Jayne Sivakumar, Head of Alliance Working at Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explained that Barnsley had adopted a partnership approach to its frailty programme. She said:

“A collective decision was made by Barnsley Hospital, South West Yorkshire Partnership Trust, Barnsley Healthcare Federation, Barnsley CCG and Barnsley Council to focus on three areas – frailty, cardiovascular disease and communities.”

Admissions in Barnsley due to a fractured hip are also significantly higher than the national average. Barnsley A&E attendances for those aged over 65 years amount to 37.2% of all attendances.

Jayne said:

“By working in partnership across a whole system to deliver a comprehensive frailty programme, we can raise standards and improve quality and outcomes for older people with frailty, and help them to maintain their independence for longer.

“To ensure a joined up approach to tackling frailty across Barnsley, the frailty programme will be multifaceted, focusing on areas such as preventing falls, supporting care homes, dementia, frailty identification and screening, crisis prevention and intervention and most importantly advanced care planning.”