Reducing avoidable admissions in Wirral’s elderly population

Staff from Wirral Council’s Health Protection Service, Wirral Community Health & Care Foundation Trust, Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) and Wirral Place have developed a project to help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and dehydration in older people which is helping to reduce avoidable hospital admissions in this group.

Between 2022-23, Wirral had one of the highest rates in England for prescribing antibiotics for, and for hospital admissions related to, UTIs for those aged 70 and over.
In response to this, partners worked together to identify the leading cause (hydration), and then developed local awareness training on the importance of hydration to help prevent UTIs, as well as assessment tools and an awareness campaign (posters and information leaflets) for those who work with and care for older people.

Training was delivered at a range of community organisations, day centres, domiciliary care providers, care homes, and other organisations and individuals who work with older people to help encourage better hydration and prevent hospitalisations. The team also linked with the voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector, local falls prevention service, and Active Wirral leisure service to support their preventative work on improving hydration in the community.

Impact so far

Since the start of the project, which launched in June 2022, hospital admissions for UTIs in Wirral are down by:

  • an average of 17% in those aged 70+ (compared with the previous year)
  • an average of 22% in those aged 65+.

There has also been a considerable reduction in local antibiotic prescribing related to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in those aged 70+ years as well, which has additional benefits around prescribing cost-savings and reduced anti-microbial resistance for the community as well.

The project was recently recognised with an Impact Award for Excellence at a ceremony held by independent charity The Infection Prevention Society in October 2023.