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Frailsafe scheme wins £450,000 grant


A safety scheme that helps to provide reliable care for frail older people in hospital has received a £450,000 grant.

The British Geriatric Society (BGS) has secured the funding from the Health Foundation for its FRAILsafe tool.

The “Closing the Gap in Patient Safety” grant will be used by the BGS to develop the tool, which seeks to reduce harm to frail older people receiving acute hospital care through “effective implementation of an evidence-based checklist”.

The tool is designed to improve communication and team working to support reliable and safe care.

The project is led by Dr Tom Downes at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the BGS.

Dr Adam Gordon, BGS honorary secretary, said: “This Health Foundation award brings with it the opportunity to ensure that more older people arriving at acute hospitals will receive consistent, safe, evidence-based care regardless of the time of day or week they are admitted.

Adam Gordon

Adam Gordon

“We hope the improvements supported by the award will deliver considerable benefits to the most frail and vulnerable of NHS patients.”

The tool was piloted in eight hospitals across England and Scotland in autumn 2013. FRAILsafe’s partner organisations include NHS England, the Royal College of Physicians, and Age UK.

The eight hospitals that participated in the original pilot are:

  • Glasgow Royal Infirmary
  • York Hospital
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospital
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital London
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of Leicester
  • Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital London

Although the initial project work is around acute hospital admissions it is likely that in the future the checklist could be used in any setting where a frail person receives medical care.

The BGS is seeking 12 hospitals across the four UK countries for the next phase of the FRAILsafe project, beginning in autumn 2014. If you are interested please email


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Readers' comments (5)

  • what we need is more staff, more training in elderly care, money to open and train staff at more care-homes and nursing homes (to help keep elderly people having to come into hospital in the first place). do we need a checklist.

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  • sounds good avoid the bed blockers when care/nursing homes come to re-asses then wont take their client's back with some pathetic excuss? frail need more assessment from where they come from hospitals make them then back to where thay come from to rehab, also time wasters keeping clients in hospital to go on holiday,
    drawing out time to find another establishment. the should be no pickey ness
    and care establishments should cater for all
    in this day-an-age

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  • Not all elderly admissions are from care homes, if fact more are from home. I do hate any patient being compared to a lump of wood used to raise the height of a chair/bed. Whilst people are referred to in non-human terms and as numbers and statistics, people will not be treated as people.

    Anonymous | 18-Feb-2014 9:58 am
    When you find yourself in similar situations with an elderly relative, you will think differently. Elderly patients have complex needs, and it has a profound effect on their nearest and dearest. Try putting yourself in their shoes and do your best for you patients.

    It is a sad state of affairs when care is delivered according to a checklist and not through knowledge, skills, experience and the right attitude.

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  • Bed blockers? Time you were out of care services. Referring to patients as bed blockers is exactly the reason we need tools to support us in recognising the syndrome of frailty so that care delivered can be optimum. Older people are the biggest consumers of health and social care and the needs of those most frail is often only understood within specialist departments and services. This isn't good enough. A widely used tool raises the profile of older people and shares the understanding that sometimes something more specific needs to be considered.

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  • gerontology is a worthy international multidisciplinary specialty. lets ensure NHS staff are trained in this interesting and challenging field and up to the task of delivering care and appropriately rewarded for work in this vital area. the last international congress of my career which I attended was field with inspiring lectures on different areas of specialist care and all the rapid and promising advances being made but it needs funding, it needs resources and it needs enthusiastic, motivated, caring and compassionate staff wit passion for their client group and the range of services and expertise that they can offer them.

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