Evaluation of the Frailsafe project

North West LondonGeneric Health Relevance
Start Date: 1 Jan 2014 End Date: 31 Mar 2015

Project aim

CLAHRC NWL has received external funding from the Health Foundation to conduct a mixed methods evaluation of the Frailsafe intervention. Led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society, Frailsafe focuses on a series of measurable harms posing a risk to older patients, including confusion, falls and adverse drug reactions. The project aims to implement an evidence-based checklist to improve communication, team working and prompt reliable care, and to test its effective implementation, with a view to improving quality of care for frail older people who are admitted to hospital with a medical emergency. Twelve Trusts across the UK are currently piloting the Frailsafe checklist, while hospital teams are also supported by a Breakthrough Series Collaborative, which is a short-term learning system that brings together a large number of teams from hospitals or clinics to work on quality improvement in a focused topic area.

Outcome & Impact statement

The quantitative evaluation is ongoing with process measures being collected through the online WISH tool and outcome measures through local hospital data and the National Patient Safety Thermometer. The qualitative evaluation includes 58 baseline and 25 post-implementation interviews, field site visits and ethnographically informed observation, review of assessment documentation, observation in two learning events and other interactions between the project team and the 12 participating Trusts. The outcomes of the evaluation will determine whether the Frailsafe project will be further funded to proceed with national roll-out of the Frailsafe checklist.

This work supports the Frailty theme by extending our understanding of frailty assessments in acute medical units and the way these are communicated to other levels of care at discharge.

What happened next?

The evaluation is ongoing with a number of benefits already identified, although areas for improvement and implementation challenges have also been fed back to the project team. The evaluation team have developed good working relationships with the participating hospital teams across the UK and support their work through ongoing improvement feedback recorded on WISH as well as through individual site visits.

Dr Julie Reed