De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is using the skills of academics and clinicians to help tackle one of the biggest health challenges facing society.
The care of older people is already a major issue for the county, with existing services not geared up to cope with the multiple problems inherent in an ageing population.
Leicester Academy for the Study of Ageing (LASA) aims to address the challenge and improve outcomes for older people as well as those who care for them with its holistic, multi-disciplinary approach.
Launching today at The Venue@DMU, LASA is a collaboration between DMU, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL), Leicester Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland and the University of Leicester.
Jayne Brown, Professor of Nursing (older people) at DMU, and Simon Conroy, Geriatrician, University Hospitals of Leicester and Honorary Professor, University of Leicester, are helping set up the academy.
Dr Conroy said the academy is very much needed. He said: "It is responding to the need to change the nature of health care to be fit to treat older people.
"Existing services aren't really geared up for this. It's not just hospitals but the whole system that needs to up its game to manage older people with frailty.
"Hospitals deal with single problems but older people often have more than one, such as dementia and mobility problems.
"LASA will develop the capacity and competence to improve care and enhance wellbeing."
Initially, LASA aims to bring together a community of experts from across all disciplines. Longer term, they want to generate research that can be translated into practice, with all work person - or patient - centred.
Key aims include:
- Focus on knowledge generation
- New models of care
- Quality improvement
- Knowledge transfer
DMU's Professor Brown said the key priority for LASA is to help the local community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
She said: "We felt there was a need for a new initiative where health and social care work together. The idea is LASA should make a difference locally, but we want to work beyond that.
"We will be the problem-solvers - the centre of choice for commissioners and providers alike for advice on how to improve care for older people, whether by research, education or service delivery."
LASA will work across all faculties of DMU, with the potential to look at a wide range of issues facing older people, such as legal matters and clothes for people with conditions such as arthritis.
Cheryl Clegg, Head of Information, Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland, says the charity is excited to be involved.
"She said: "We will be looking at all aspects of an older person's life - extending integrated care, improving the quality of care and also helping friends and relatives, as often older people care for older people.
"We are honoured to be involved. We can feed in the views of older people and the issues facing them and Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland can facilitate contact with older people.
“LASA really will reinforce the benefits of working together.”
Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2016