It is no secret that in the UK we have an ageing population and it is growing. There are 11.4 million people over 65 in the UK according to Age UK and that is expected to rise to 20 million by 2030.
With that background it is important that we put into practice the evidence we already have on healthcare to benefit older people. This is where a new research project comes into place within the NIHR CLAHRC Wessex Ageing and Dementia theme.
The Fit for Later Life Project is looking at using something called a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment in GP surgeries (primary care).
Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) looks at all the healthcare needs of an older person, including a plan for the treatments and interventions they may need to keep them well. We know from research that the assessment helps the wellbeing of older people, including improving function and their independence.
The assessment (CGA) is usually carried out in hospitals or sometimes in the home. In our study what we want to find out if it is feasible, acceptable and cost effective to run a CGA clinic in a single General Practitioner (GP) practice.
The Fit for Later Life Project is looking to start a CGA Clinic in a GP practice. It will be for older people referred by their GP. We will collect information about running the CGA clinic in a GP surgery to see if it works there.
To measure this we will interview people and groups to find out the views of patients, their carers and health professionals (nurses and doctors) about:
- The usual care that older patients normally receive.
- Views of everyone involved on starting a CGA clinic.
- Experiences of this new service.
All that information will be collected and reviewed. This will help us to understand strengths, weaknesses, benefits or any issues of providing the service in a GP practice from the point of view of patients, carers and staff. We will establish if a CGA clinic in primary care is possible and acceptable.
The result is to produce a set of guidelines for offering a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment Clinic as a service in a GP practice (primary care). Anything that affects starting and running the service will be described, as will the types of patients who may possibly attend and those who actually do attend. The financial cost of this service will also be calculated.