Dr. Ben Robert is a family physician providing in-patient care and LTC for over 30 years. He is the medical director for The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre and is on staff at the Ottawa Hospital. He has additional credentials in Care of the Elderly, as well as Palliative Care.
The Sub-Acute Unit for Frail Elderly (SAFE Unit) at The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre is a pilot program implemented in March 2018, designed to improve the care of older adults living with frailty who are at risk of deconditioning in hospital. It provides short-stay medical and rehabilitative care for older adults living with frailty following an acute health event in a home-like environment. Upon discharge, patients return home or to a retirement home; patients are not eligible for the program if their anticipated discharge destination is LTC.
Patients are identified as candidates for the SAFE Unit upon admission to acute care. The admission process involves a unique consultation between hospital, Home and Community Care, and the SAFE Unit to assess frailty status and fit.
The program evaluation is designed to examine the effectiveness of the SAFE Unit, as measured by length of stay between acute care admission and referral to SAFE Unit; discharge destination; health service utilization post-discharge (family doctor visits, home care services, hospital readmission).
This innovative model supports seniors to stay at home longer and addresses system capacity issues such as “hallway medicine”, while providing a more appropriate model of care that will have a positive impact on quality of life for older adults living with frailty.