Frailty is a common real life condition with up to 30% of people over 75 years being affected. To meet the complex needs of older people requires our healthcare systems to adapt and recognise frailty as a real life condition. This is particularly relevant for Roscommon University Hospital (RUH) which serves the West/Northwest and which has shown to have the largest population of residing older adults in Ireland (DOH, 2016).
The HSE National Frailty Education Programme was developed to provide all members of a multidisciplinary team with an understanding of frailty and frailty assessments, thereby allowing early recognition of frailty, improved healthcare management and a better outcome for older adults when accessing a health service.
Three staff members in RUH trained as National Frailty Facilitators and committed to the roll out of the programme throughout 2018 to promote a culture change in organising and delivering the programme to the staff. The team launched a frailty awareness campaign, compiled a frailty leaflet for staff and were instrumental in piloting a frailty assessment tool into the Medical Assessment unit.
Generally the National Frailty Education Programme is delivered as a one day course and this resulted in the hospital doctors being unable to attend due to time constraints. RUH frailty facilitators proposed a modular approach to the delivery of the frailty programme to all hospital doctors over a 3 month time frame (1 hour sessions). 13 doctors undertook the programme each third Friday where the frailty facilitators delivered one module at a time for seven sessions until all modules were completed. Positive feedback from the doctors identified that the areas covered in the programme were very relevant to clinical practice.
All doctors in RUH completed the programme between September and November 2018 and were the first group of doctors within Saolta and nationally to have completed the National Frailty Education Programme.