Frailty in Urgent Care Settings Special Interest Group (SIG)

Older people accessing urgent care settings (emergency departments and acute hospital care) are amongst the most vulnerable in society. Despite huge efforts by the NHS and social care systems to provide more care at home, there will always be large numbers of older people who attend emergency departments, many of whom will require ongoing acute hospital care. It is well-established that older people in urgent care settings are at high risk of adverse outcomes, such as hospital acquired harms, which links to longer length of stay, increased risk of readmission upon discharge and increased risk of admission to long term care. Long waits in emergency departments further increase these risks and add to a poor patient experience.

The British Geriatrics Society is a critical partner in developing a better response to older people in urgent care settings, not least through local leadership (delivery of CGA), national leadership (policy initiatives e.g. Silver Book) and international networking (e.g. EUGMS special interest group on emergency care, North American links). Nationally the BGS is on the programme board of the Acute Frailty Network (AFN), a national improvement collaborative which has supported 34 hospitals in England to date to improve their process of care for older people with urgent care needs. The AFN works with hospitals intensively for 1 year, and provides on-going support thereafter as required.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the group is to improve outcomes for older people with urgent care needs and its objectives are to:

  1. Create a clinical community of BGS members and other groups interested in urgent care for older people. Representatives from the Society of Acute Medicine, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, College of Occupational Therapists, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Royal College of Nursing, NHS Emergency Care Improvement Programme (ECIP), Acute Frailty Network and NHS England, national patient/public representation and social care (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) will be invited to participate in this SiG as non-office bearing collaborators.
  2. Share examples of best practice in urgent care for older people at BGS events and in BGS publications
  3. Work with the BGS to promote and influence policy relating to urgent care for older people.
  4. Support research into urgent care for older people.
  5. Develop education and training materials to help BGS and other SiG members improve their response to older people with urgent care needs.