An Emergency Nurse Consultant from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital could be helping to improve the way elderly patients are cared for in busy A&E departments across the country.
Suzie Robinson Southey will be observing how American and Canadian hospitals manage care for older people after winning a Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship.
The prestigious programme provides candidates with the opportunity to look at ways of enhancing nursing or midwifery practice by completing research in this country or abroad.
Mrs Robinson Southey will be looking at how American and Canadian Emergency Rooms are designed to create a safe and therapeutic environment for older patients and their families. She will also be reviewing specific treatment pathways, which set out to improve care for older people in emergency and trauma settings.
She said: “In West Norfolk, we have a high percentage of patients who are aged of 75 and over, nationally the number of people over the age of 80 has risen dramatically.
“The majority of older people are generally admitted through A&E, which highlights the importance of emergency medicine designed to meet the specific and often complex needs for older people.
“I hope this study will help with the future design of our Emergency Departments to make them more fitting for our older patients.
“This is a really exciting opportunity and I am really proud to be given this honour.”
Mrs Robinson Southey must complete her study for the Florence Nightingale Foundation, which aims to support and mentor nurses and midwives, by December.
Rising numbers of people over the age of 80 prompted American and Canadian hospitals to look again at how they care for seniors with the aim of preventing future readmissions as older patients take longer to heal and can develop extra complications.
Changes have also been made to the layout and decoration of Emergency Rooms in a bid to provide a therapeutic environment for older patients. These include softer lighting,
non- slip floors, placing toilets close to the patient’s bedside and clocks with large numbers. This study trip hopes to explore how the value of key features in design are integrated and how they can be considered within any future plans.
American emergency teams have reported a reduction in readmission rates thanks to screening for common complications and other procedures, enhanced by specially designed facilities that are conducive to the assessment and treatment.
Mrs Robinson Southey said: “It will be interesting to see how the changes implemented in America and Canada have made an impact on patient experiences and clinical pathways.
“We have so many older people coming in with complex conditions, falls and chronic illnesses that I feel Emergency Departments need to respond environmentally and clinically to support specialist older persons care.”
Emergency Nurse Consultant Suzie Robinson Southey has achieved a Florence Nightingale Travel Scholarship to observe how American and Canadian Emergency Rooms treat older patients