Rapid Assessment & Consultant Evaluation (RACE)

The journey –

This programme established a new admissions unit, the Rapid Assessment & Consultant Evaluation (RACE) ward.  Here medical patients with geriatric needs (frailty, multiple co-morbidities, advanced age dementia) referred to hospital as emergencies, are assessed and cared for by a consultant-led multidisciplinary (MDT) team, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and community support staff.

All patients receive comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) within 24 hours of admission and there is a daily multidisciplinary meeting attended by the ward team and representatives from Poole Intermediate Care Service, Poole Social Services and Dorset Social Services to facilitate discharge planning.

GPs can also refer patients to the daily emergency clinic held on the ward to access rapid diagnostics and CGA without admission to hospital.

The aim of the unit is rapid comprehensive assessment of older patients with complex needs. This facilitates early supported discharge and avoids unnecessary hospital stays which can be detrimental to older patients. The trust benefits from a reduced length of stay for older patients with concomitant savings.



Within 3 months of the establishment of the RACE ward marked improvements were recorded. Patient discharge within 48 hours increased from 20{79f878acaa41f375dcd804cc8c058b5459a5482f20a3b9f87269b26c8734749b} to 40{79f878acaa41f375dcd804cc8c058b5459a5482f20a3b9f87269b26c8734749b}, and average length of stay decreased from 19 to 13 days. The quality of patient care also improved as a result of comprehensive geriatric assessment at the front door.


Patient setting

In-patient   X Out-patient Community based
Mental health Chronic illness   X Cross-systems   X


Clinical area

Staying healthy Maternity and newborn Children and young people Acute care    X
Planned care    X Mental health    X Long-term conditions    X End of life   X


Information, tools and techniques used

The original impetus for the change was managerial, but the change was driven bottom up: planned, led and implemented by clinicians.



The change took place in Poole Hospital, Dorset.



The change took place in June 2010 and lasted 6 weeks from planning to implementation. Now fully embedded, the operation of the RACE ward has continued to develop and evolve.


Contact details and further information

Prem Fade, Department Director: Prem.Fade@poole.nhs.uk

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