Official opening of new frailty unit at Basildon Hospital

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Members of Kate Evelyn Luard’s family, Caroline Stevens (great-niece) and Tim Luard (great-nephew) cut the ribbon to officially open the Kate Evelyn Luard Unit

A new ward dedicated to providing care for patients who are elderly and frail has been officially opened at Basildon Hospital.

The Kate Evelyn Luard Unit has eight beds and an assessment area, and provides care for older patients who require a short stay in hospital due to symptoms associated with frailty such as falls, dehydration, immobility and delirium.

Patients receiving care on the unit, which opened its doors to patients in January, will have been seen by a specialist team while in A&E, and had a comprehensive geriatric assessment. This gives a better understanding of their overall condition and enables a bespoke care plan to be put in place. If the patient needs hospital care, they stay on the Kate Evelyn Luard frailty unit for up to three days where they receive intensive treatment to enable them to be sent home, or to their ‘home environment’ such as a care home or residential home, with the appropriate ongoing support.

Dr Riz Mohamed, frailty consultant, said: “We know that the best place for a lot of older patients to be cared for is at home. Hospitals can be scary and confusing places with the increased risk of a fall or an infection.

“We work closely with our community healthcare partners to decide as early as possible where frail patients should be treated. This could mean sending them home with the appropriate support or – when they have to be admitted to hospital – ensuring they have access to the right healthcare professionals who can get them better and put support in place so they can return home more quickly.”

The specialist frailty unit has been named after local nurse Katherine Evelyn Luard (known in the nursing profession as Kate and as Evelyn to her family), who grew-up in Aveley in the 1870s and 80s, and worked in hospital trains and casualty stations during the First World War.
Her family attended the official opening, and marked the occasion by cutting the ribbon.

On cutting the ribbon, Tim Luard, Kate Evelyn Luard’s great-nephew, said: “Our family is very proud to be here today, to see the official opening of the Kate Evelyn Luard Unit. She was a brave lady, who nursed with compassion and with humour.

“From what we have seen today, and the patients and visitors we have spoken to, we are sure you will live up to her name and her reputation. She would have been thrilled to bits.”

Don Bolonia, senior charge nurse and Kate Evelyn Luard unit manager, said: “We are delighted that members of Kate Evelyn Luard’s family were able to join us to celebrate the official opening.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with the family to explain about the specialist care the Unit’s multidisciplinary team - which includes doctors, nurses, therapy staff and social care - provides. The majority of our patients are here following a fall, and are often confused. They will usually have complex needs and require our close attention to ensure they don’t fall while in hospital. The team works closely together to provide the highest standards of care and to ensure a safe discharge for each patient.”

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