New academy aims to change nature of health care for older people

A new academy has been set up in Leicester that hopes to tackle the challenges of ageing and change the nature of health care for older people.

The vision of the new Centre is to promote active ageing, defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘the process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age’.

The Leicester Academy for the Study of Ageing (LASA) is a collaboration between the University of Leicester with De Montfort University and two local healthcare providers (University Hospitals of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership Trust) as well as Age UK.

Professor Simon Conroy, geriatrician, University Hospitals of Leicester and honorary professor at our University and Jayne Brown, professor of nursing (older people) at DMU are helping set up the academy. Professor Conroy, who believes the academy is very much needed, 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.”

The key priority for LASA is to help the local community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

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.

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.

“I am honoured to be involved. I can feed in the views of older people and the issues facing them and Age UK can facilitate contact with older people.

“LASA comes together like a jigsaw and will reinforce the benefits of working together.”