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Health Care of the Elderly 

The Healthcare of the Elderly department has a multi-disciplinary team approach to the care of older people - ensuring that there is: 
- Individualised approach to the care and management of the patient in hospital
- Respect for and maintenance of the older person's dignity at all times
- Promotion of choice, involvement and independence of older people and their carers
- Good communication within the team and with the patient and carers with regards to plans for care and treatment

It is important that older people are offered the same level of care and treatment as any other age group - decisions on treatment and care are made according to a patient's clinical condition, not on the basis of age alone.

The Healthcare of the Elderly department includes medical staff from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Plymouth Primary Care Trust. The team works across other wards and departments - assessing and advising on the management and care of older people, referring patients for rehabilitation either at Mount Gould or in the community, advising on discharge and placement issues. 

Patients admitted to the Healthcare of the Elderly department are usually cared for in the Healthcare of the Elderly wards, of which there are two in Derriford Hospital. These wards specialise in the needs of older, frail people who require individualised care of complex conditions. These wards have established strong teams of nurses, doctors and therapists who all work towards the recovery and rehabilitation of older patients. They use specialist skills, assessments and treatment/care plans to ensure that the older patient is actively treated, supported in their recovery and appropriate plans are in place for their discharge.
For those patients in the end stages of their illness, for whom terminal care is required, care from the multidisciplinary team focuses on good symptom control, the maintenance of dignity and respect in end-of-life care and good communication and involvement with the patient's family.

Specialist services for Older People have been developed through collaborative working from the Healthcare of the Elderly department with other specialities and services. These include:

Orthogeriatrics - focuses principally on trauma in older people

Falls service - multi-disciplinary service with the Primary Care Trust, working with patients on falls prevention and management, working with the cardiology department and secondary prevention of osteoporosis

Amputee rehabilitation - working with vascular surgeons and consultants in rehabilitation, linking closely with the local Disablement Services Centre

Parkinson's service - a multi-disciplinary service with a care pathway for patients managing this condition, within the community

Old Age Psychiatry - a nurse-led liaison service is established at Derriford Hospital, providing assessment of patients, care planning and management advice and discharge planning for patients with mental health issues within the acute hospital setting

Stroke services - patients who have suffered with a stroke are mostly managed within the acute stroke unit. Close working with the Healthcare of the Elderly teams ensures that the needs of older people who have suffered a stroke are appropriately co-ordinated.

Heart Failure - working across health communities, the specialist service is led by the acute physicians at Derriford Hospital, with involvement of Healthcare Of the Elderly staff

Relevant links to other websites:
Department of Health
British Geriatrics Society

Leading with excellence, caring with compassion