My job

‘Getting services right for people with frailty is a must’

Frailty and dementia matron Beverley Marriott says an integrated health and social care system is essential to support older people's needs

Frailty and dementia matron Beverley Marriott says an integrated health and social care system is essential to support older people's needs

What is your job?

I am a frailty and dementia matron in the adult and community division at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Why did you become a nurse?

To deliver care, which I feel is just as important as treatment. I have always had a passion for nursing older people. They should be valued, listened to and treated with compassion, dignity and respect at all times.

Where did you train?

At Birmingham’s Good Hope Hospital in 1998, specialising in older adult care. It was a great experience and a great university, with excellent tutors and mentors along the way.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with health and social care services who support older people with complex co-morbidities, including frailty and dementia. It’s great to meet clinicians, sharing ideas and improving quality care by working together. Frailty is common in people requiring care and support at home, those who are housebound and long-term care residents, as well as among older people admitted to hospital. It can remain unrecognised until people present to services. With age, disability is also increasingly common. So working across services is essential in delivering my role. That is the part I enjoy most.

What is your greatest challenge?

Getting services right for people with frailty has become the ‘must do’ for health and social care communities. People living with frailty experience services working in silos. Getting the patient’s voice heard and having teams communicate and share, at a time when staff are so busy – this is my greatest challenge.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

Time with family and friends, mud runs, theatre, walking my dog, outdoor adventures, gym, writing blogs, learning and sharing.

What or who inspires you, and why?

It may sound cheesy, but everyone I come into contact with in this field of work inspires me. Every member of my team has an impact and is important to patients in adult and community services.

When working with older people, what qualities do you think a nurse should possess?

Empathy. I always think: “If I was receiving the care what would I need? What would make me feel better and make me smile?” It costs nothing to smile and nothing to empathise.

What are the challenges you face in your role and how do you overcome them?

Frailty remains a new area for nurses caring for older people. To underpin frailty as a long-term condition it is essential to raise the skills of the workforce with the evidence-based knowledge and behaviours required to deliver high-quality, holistic, compassionate care and support.

What advice would you give a newly registered nurse?

To treat people as you would like to be treated and to smile. We are in a position to create smiles and we touch the lives of so many people who want to smile too.

What is likely to affect nurses working with older people over the next 12 months?

There is an increasing older population with more complex and often multiple needs, and a growing number of people with long-term conditions such as type 2 diabetes. These are perhaps the biggest issues influencing the future direction of nursing.

Nursing associates can take on tasks traditionally performed by registered nurses, who are then free to adopt more complex work.

Adult and community services will be supporting more people living in their own homes or in intermediate care. It's essential that we adopt an integrated health and social care system between hospital and community to support our older population’s needs.

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