Roscommon Frailty Intervention Team (R-FIT) is a new, unique, fully staffed, clinical service introduced at Roscommon University Hospital (RUH) to provide a holistic assessment and brief intervention to patients over 65 presenting with frailty.
The R-FIT is an interdisciplinary consultant-led team and consists of an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Frailty, Senior Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Dietitian and Occupational Therapist with access to Clinical Pharmacy and Medical Social Work.
Kate Donlon, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Frailty at RUH explains, “Frailty is a combination of conditions which include weakness, exhaustion, unintentional weight loss, slowness on the feet, deterioration in physical activity and in general finding it hard to cope at home. Medically well patients are seen by the team in the Frailty Clinic or Medical Assessment Unit upon referral from their GP to the hospital consultant.
“A detailed assessment takes place of each patient and based on that patient’s needs they will be referred to the relevant team member. Following the assessment, a treatment plan is developed with the patient and carer if needed. Education and advice is provided and onward referrals to other services are made if necessary. We have adapted to the current needs and where feasible virtual clinics are being offered for our vulnerable patients who have the technology, skills and support to use the video platform ‘Attend Anywhere’.
“The aim of R-FIT is to empower patients to manage their own health and wellbeing, so they can cope at home, reduce the need for admission to hospital and continue to live a meaningful life.”
Roscommon Frailty Intervention Team was developed under the governance of Dr Gerry O’Mara, Consultant Geriatrician and supported by Ursula Morgan, Director of Nursing and Martina Vaughan, Assistant Director of Nursing RUH.
Dr Sri Gouda, Medical Frailty Team Lead, RUH commented, “The Frailty Intervention Team has made a real difference to some of our more frail patients. The team’s insight challenges the idea that frailty automatically means admission to hospital.”
Dr Gerry O’Mara, Consultant Geriatrician and Frailty Lead at RUH said, “For an older person, sometimes by the time they come to the hospital they have reached crisis point. The Frailty Intervention Team in Roscommon University Hospital aims to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions by early identification of any issues which may cause falls, low blood pressure, chest infections etc. It is a multidisciplinary approach so that each person gets an individualised assessment, ultimately to support the patient and their family as needed.”
Mary Garvey, Hospital Manager said, “The introduction of the Frailty Intervention Team is part of our on-going commitment to ensure quality of care for the older person is foremost.
“I am very grateful to Denis Naughten TD for securing the investment which has enabled us to put the Frailty Team in place to ensure that appropriate clinical intervention for older persons is provided at the ‘front door’, to either avoid hospital admissions or reduce length of stay.
“This specialist team will provide care, treatment and support to improve the patients’ experience and help them to return home to live as independently as they can.”