Advanced Practitioners Help Aging Population; David Pontin, of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of South Wales, Looks at Increasing the Role of the Advanced Practitioner

Article excerpt

Byline: David Pontin

ONE of the 21st century success stories in Wales is that more people are living longer and enjoying the opportunities that old age offers.

This is something that we should celebrate and be proud of. But while we're celebrating we also need to remember that with all things there are two sides to the story.

In this particular story it means that there are also more older people who develop health problems and need help from the NHS to maintain the quality of their lives.

Older people often have a number of health issues running at the same time and it can be difficult for GPs to tease out the nub of the problem when their appointment times are under pressure. Sometimes this means that older people are admitted to hospital so that a fuller health picture can be worked out when they could be managed in their home communities.

The NHS is aware that it needs to make changes to the way it helps people stay healthy, and one way the Welsh Government is exploring is the development of integrated services for older people.

One example of an integrated service can be seen in Cwm Taf Health Board. It has set up a Community Integrated Assessment Service (CIAS) to support the services provided by local GPs.

The CIAS is led by a medical consultant who specialises in older people's health, and is staffed by four advanced practitioners, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, and community nurses. …