NS Health is hiring more staff to keep elderly patients moving around the hospital IG News

IG news Update,

Regional hospitals across the province will soon launch a new program aimed at getting frail seniors out of hospital as quickly as possible while maintaining their mobility.

The Early Maintenance Mobilization Project is an initiative of the Frailty and Elder Care Network at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, created in 2021 with the goal of improving care for the province’s aging population.

“Functional decline is one of the leading complications of hospitalization in older people,” said Karen Nichols, director of policy and planning for the network.

Working with four health regions, the network approached the province with a proposal that led to the creation of 45 new positions spread across regional hospitals. By September there should be new staff trained in recreational or rehabilitative medicine and a new frailty coordinator in each health area.

The goal is to identify older patients who are frail—what Nichols defines as a “state of increased vulnerability”—but who are still mobile.

loss of mobility

“When they come in, a lot of them think, ‘I need to rest to get better.’ So they lay in bed,” said Angela Stairs, director of rehabilitation, seniors and long-term care for the NS Health Authority’s eastern region.

“But then what we discovered is, after they’ve been in the health care system for a week or two … when we actually go to discharge them, they have very little mobility,” said Stairs, who helped develop the program. It happens.” ,

Angela Steers is the Director of Rehabilitative, Seniors and Long Term Care, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia Health.
Angela Steers is the director of rehabilitation, seniors and long-term care for Nova Scotia Health’s eastern region. (Holly Connors/CBC)

According to research conducted by the Frailty and Elder Care Network, 20 percent of older adults who were able to walk before hospitalization were not able to walk without assistance when they were discharged.

At that point, they may be referred for rehabilitation services.

“And then it prolongs their stay in the hospital,” Steers said, “which can then make their mobility issues worse….and we’re trying to undo whatever happened during their recovery from their illness.” trying.”

The goal is to meet patients within 48 hours of admission while they are still mobile, and encourage them to get up and move, participating in activities that suit their interests.

“It can be as simple as – if one is generally goal-oriented – it can be setting up a bell at the end of the hallway and saying, ‘Our goal is you’re going to walk to that bell by the end of the week. To play.'”

Or there might be designated space for arts and crafts, or gardening, or pet therapy.

“But we won’t bring them to your room. You actually have to get up and go to the area where it’s available,” Stairs said.

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