A key aim of a new HSE plan for the care of older people is ensuring they are not needlessly being admitted to hospital.
And one of the main ways the HSE is trying to do this is through greater co-operation between acute hospitals and community services.
Putting together a new plan for the care of older people was the subject of a workshop held last week between HSE staff involved in community healthcare and Sligo University Hospital.
The aim is to produce what’s called an ‘Integrated Care Programme for Older Persons.’
There are 10 steps in the programme.
The overall objective is to improve care for older people by integrating existing services and developing new community-based care models.
This will involve greater cooperation between all agencies but particularly between acute hospitals and community services.
Dr Siobhan Kennelly, the clinical leader on the national care programme for older persons, pointed out that by 2021 there will be an extra 136,000 people aged over 85 than there are today.
She says planning now on how to care for these people is essential.
Jo Shortt, senior project manager at Sligo University Hospital, says it’s about linking the services available to those who need them most.
And she says where people need admission to hospital, they should be assessed and treated as quickly as possible to reduce the length of hospital stays and improve outcomes for patients.
She says crucial to this will be the hospital and community working together.