People in Dewsbury are set to benefit from a new NHS project, which will ensure that all older people who come into hospital will have their mental health looked after, as well as their physical health.

The Older People’s Partnership Project is a 2 year Department of Health funded project. It is being led by the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust in partnership with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, North Kirklees PCT and social services.

The project promotes a culture of person centred care, using a process known as ‘dementia care-mapping’ which is an increasingly popular way of measuring the care and well-being of people with dementia, and involves looking at things through the eyes of the patient.

Kath Williams, team leader said, ‘Coming into hospital and the change of environment can be a frightening experience for any older person, who can have complex disease presentation, multiple medical problems and are particularly vulnerable to problems which can arise during a hospital stay. There’s a lot of enthusiasm amongst staff for the project and we are hoping it will lead to real changes in the way care for older people is approached.’

The project team will be working in any clinical area within Dewsbury District Hospital that has older patients, to promote a positive experience for older people, carers and staff. 30 people have now been trained as dementia care-mappers, and amongst them are 12 ‘champions’ of the project. Those attending the training included ward sisters, unit managers, nursing home staff, catering staff, a porter, and, very importantly, a carer.

Kath Williams continued, ‘People who attended the course said they will never look at an older person with mental health problems through the same eyes again. The range of staff who attended the course demonstrates why a partnership approach is vital – everyone who has contact with an older person in a hospital environment has a role to play – from the porter, to the ward sister, to the catering assistant.’

‘It’s a very exciting time for Dewsbury as we are a fairly unique team in the country, we’re using dementia care mapping in an acute environment and providing training and support to all staff levels. It means that any older person who comes into hospital in Dewsbury will hopefully leave with not only their physical, but also their mental health on track’.

For more information please contact Jude Corrigan, Public Relations, South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust on 01924 327689


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