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Older people’s mental health inpatient services consultation

How we support our older people’s mental health patients – our current model

Our older people’s mental health services include community services and inpatient services. We support people to stay well and help them be independent so they can be cared for in their own home, or usual place of residence.

Since 2015 we have been improving the way our older people’s mental health services work in the community so they could better support people closer to home. This has helped improve services in the community where most people are supported in their own home, or usual place of residence by community mental health teams. This means our inpatient wards are only needed by people who need more specialist care. Specialist care is given by a team of health and care professionals with a range of skills and knowledge, known as a multi-disciplinary team. This includes doctors, specialist nursing staff, therapists and support workers.

Our older people’s mental health inpatient services support two groups of older adults:

  • people diagnosed with dementia, and,
  • people diagnosed with a functional mental health need.

The term ‘functional mental health need’ covers illnesses such as:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • psychosis (such as schizophrenia)
  • bipolar disorder.

Our inpatient services are mainly used by older adults over the age of 65. Sometimes there are some other groups of patients who may also be admitted to one of our older people’s mental health inpatient wards, these are people:

  • who have been diagnosed with early onset dementia at a younger age, or
  • are under the age of 65 with a physical health issue which would be best managed on an older people’s ward.

On our wards:

  • all patients have their own bedroom, some bedrooms are ensuite.
  • there are shared dining rooms, therapeutic areas, and lounges.

When and how people are admitted to our older people’s mental health inpatient wards

People are admitted to one of our inpatient wards when:

  • their mental health gets worse and their condition means that they need more support than the mental health community team can give,
  • to they need specialist support from a number of different health and care professionals, or
  • there is a significant risk to them and/or to others of continuing to live in their community.

People can be admitted to an inpatient ward from their own home, a care home, or usual place of residence.

People are referred to our inpatient service in the following ways:

  • from community mental health teams, following an assessment from crisis teams,
  • following detention under the Mental Health Act due to a mental health crisis, or,
  • following an admission to a place of safety used by the police.

Most people are admitted to the ward which is closest to their home. Around 30% of people are admitted to a ward outside of their local area. This is either due to bed availability at the time of admission, or because another ward would be better suited to their condition.

In Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield we have five older people’s mental health inpatient wards:

  • Beechdale Ward, Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax (16 beds), mixed needs and mixed gender
  • Two wards in the Priestley Unit, Ward 19, Dewsbury and District Hospital (30 beds; 15 male gender beds and 15 female gender beds, as two separate wards), mixed needs
  • The Crofton Ward, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield (16 beds), mixed needs and mixed gender.
  • The Poplars, Hemsworth, Wakefield (12 beds), a dementia ward, mixed gender

We also have a ward for people with functional needs at Kendray Hospital, Barnsley (10 beds), which we do not plan to change as part of this public consultation.

In summary:

  • Four of our five wards are mixed needs, which means that they care for people with dementia and a functional mental health need on the same ward.
  • Three out of our five wards are mixed gender, which means that the male gender and female gender share the same ward.
  • One ward, The Poplars in Hemsworth, is a mixed gender dementia only ward.
  • There are 74 older people’s mental health inpatient beds across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

The dementia only ward at The Poplars in Hemsworth originally had 15 beds, but now operates at 12 beds. Over the last few years, patients admitted to The Poplars have been living with more severe dementia. This has meant space that was used for bedrooms has been used for a female lounge, a clinical storage room, and in recent years a Covid-19 changing room.

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