The role of the district nurse in screening and assessment for frailty
An ageing population is leading to greater demands on healthcare services; investments are being made to allow complex care to be given in patient's homes by community care staff, as highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan (2019). Frailty is often identified in secondary care when acute crisis is hit; frailty does not suddenly occur and will happen over time. This article aims to explore community screening, the assessment processes of frailty and the role the district nurse has. It also addresses how working collaboratively with the wider multidisciplinary team to earlier identify service users with frailty can assist in improving patient outcomes by empowering and supporting service users to remain at home. Recognising continual improvement to service users' care and changes in practice should be considered and disseminated. based upon best available evidence.
The population is ageing. It is recognised that those over the age of 60 years will nearly double from 12 – 22% between 2015 – 2050 around the world (World Health Organization (WHO), 2021). In the UK, it is predicted that, by 2050, one in four people will be over the age of 65 years (Office for National statistics (ONS), 2018). The ageing process is often associated with the decline of social, cognitive and physical functions, which affect quality of life, impacting costs and increasing the need to access healthcare services. The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) has highlighted the importance of investment in primary and community care services, to provide support and care to increasing numbers of people living with multiple long-term conditions, frailty and dementia within community settings. This article will critically discuss the role the district nurse plays in the screening and assessment of frailty, current practices, and how working in collaboration with both service users and the wider multidisciplinary team (MDT) can improve patient care.
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