Frail older people and emergency care
Frail older people are defined as those aged over 75, often over 85 years of age, with multiple diseases, which may include dementia. They tend to present to hospital with symptoms such as falls, immobility and confusion. They are ‘frail’ because their functional reserve is reduced and this makes them additionally vulnerable to developing complications while in hospital. The number of people aged over 80 will double in the 30-year period between 1995 and 2025 (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement 2010). Hospitals that have tended to deal better with patients presenting with only one problem rather than complex needs are therefore facing new challenges – the care of increasingly frailer older people.
This Practice Question as been published with the kind permission of the Royal College of Nursing