Improving the assessment of older people in hospital by implementing the measurement of grip strength into routine ward care.

Theme 2

Ageing and Dementia

The problem:
Low hand grip strength (muscular strength) in older patients is linked with increased postoperative complications, longer length of stay, increased functional limitations and disability. Measuring grip strength on admission to hospital is simple and inexpensive. Yet, grip strength measurement is not routinely used and our aim is to evaluate the feasibility of using grip strength measurement in everyday clinical practice.

The solution:
• 117 nurses trained to measure grip strength and interpret the results
• Care plan for those with low grip strength developed
• Routine measurement implemented on 5 wards

Expected outcome:
This mixed methods study will provide a rich picture of barriers and facilitators to the use of grip strength measurement routinely in an acute medical setting. Locally it will help improve the care given to older people by identifying those who might need extra support and help. It will also create a blueprint for other hospitals on how to implement routine grip strength testing and how to create better care plans using the results.

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