Published on Tuesday 24 January 2017
Dame Lorna Muirhead took a tour of the Older Person’s Assessment Unit (OPAU) at Wirral University Teaching Hospital to see the care being provided for elderly people.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside had the opportunity to speak to staff and patients on the unit, which opened its doors in January 2016. She was accompanied by Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside Dr Nicolas Jedynakiewicz.
Based in Arrowe Park Hospital, the OPAU offers an innovative approach to providing appropriate care for older patients.
With an increasing elderly population it is important to offer the correct care for older patients at the earliest stage.
Before a patient is admitted, the OPAU carries out an analysis of the patient, to gauge a full insight into their condition to determine where they should be treated, as well as other aspects that may eventually affect a return home such as mobility issues and home circumstances.
Taking action at such an early stage in the patient journey may help prevent an older person being needlessly admitted into hospital, when more appropriate care is on offer. Having access to personal circumstances also enables staff to return a patient home safely as quickly as possible to prevent a lengthy hospital stay.
The Lord-Lieutenant was invited to visit to the OPAU so that she could see the care being provided for older people and was given an insight into the innovative work happening at the unit.
Dame Lorna, who is the Queen’s representative in Merseyside, said: “It was wonderful to be invited to this very special unit to see first-hand the important care that is being provided for older people in Wirral.
“I show a very keen interest in knowing just how our health system works to ensure the needs of our older community are being met. This was a humbling opportunity to meet and talk to so many patients.
“I would like to thank the staff at Arrowe Park Hospital for their patient-centred care they provide day in day out and what is clearly a very busy time for the NHS.”
Gaynor Westray, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “We are extremely proud of the excellent care that we provide to our older patients and it was wonderful to welcome Dame Lorna to see what we do on the unit.
“This OPAU has an important function in our hospital. It allows us to decide the best care for our patients at an early stage which can prevent the need to come into hospital unnecessarily.
“It also provides us with very important information about a patient’s lifestyle even before they are admitted to determine whether this would impact on their eventual return home. This in turn helps our patient flow throughout the hospital by preventing delays when patients are ready to be discharged.
“Our colleagues on the ward are highly experienced in looking after elderly patients and ensuring they receive the right care they need.
“It was great that Dame Lorna was able to take a tour of OPAU and spend time speaking to our staff, patients and their families.”
Notes to editors:
Dame Lorna Muirhead DCVO DBE, was appointed Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (DCVO) in the 2017 New Year Honours for her service as Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside. She was also appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2000 for her service to midwifery.
Dame Lorna Muirhead, Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside and Deputy Lieutenant Dr Nicolas Jedynakiewicz pictured with Wirral University Teaching Hospital staff in the Older Person’s Assessment Unit.
Dame Lorna Muirhead, Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside is also pictured speaking to patients in the OPAU.