CWM Taf University Health Board is unveiling ambitious ideas to improve mental health care for older people by developing new community-based services.
The new model of care will create age-appropriate and needs-led services, which provide care according to the needs of people living in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf and not solely their age.
The health board will talk to staff, patients, families, carers and the public about its ideas for older people’s mental health services during an extensive engagement phase, which will last until March 28, 2014.
The redesign of services for older people follows the successful introduction of the recovery model for mental health care for adults of working age.
Dr Mark Winston, clinical director of adult mental health services, said: “We want to provide a good service for older people – we’ve started that journey for younger adults, now we need to continue it for older adults.
“We want to provide equity of access to services and to outcomes appropriate to the life stage of patients. “Crucial to this will be to develop good community-based services for older people – hospital liaison services and an enhanced crisis resolution service.”
Among the ideas being put forward for older people’s mental health services in Cwm Taf are:
• Develop and enhance the role of the crisis team
• Extend home treatment to include all ages – this will help reduce admission-to-hospital rates and length of stay
• An enhanced primary care mental health support service – this will offer general and age-appropriate services across the age spectrum
• Improve discharge planning
• Improve services to nursing home residents
• Develop additional day care services
• Improve services to primary care.
The redesign could also see an overall reduction in the number of inpatient older people’s mental health beds across Cwm Taf as more care is provided by community-based services.
Currently, two wards providing speciality dementia care for older people are very isolated - in Dewi Sant Hospital, in Pontypridd and Prince Charles Hospital, in Merthyr Tydfil. It is proposed inpatient assessment for older people could be concentrated on one site at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, in Llantrisant, where inpatient care for adults of working age is also based.
Dr Winston added: “Over the next three years we want to redesign older people’s mental health services to shift the focus of treatment and care from inpatient settings to the community to improve the quality of patient care.
“Our aim is for patients to have high-quality treatment and care in the right place at the right time without delays and to be treated by staff with a high level of expertise.”
Cwm Taf University Health Board’s ideas for redesigning older people’s mental health services will be shared and discussed with staff, patients, families and carers over the course of the next two months.
They will also be discussed in Cwm Taf’s regular public forum meetings as part of the engagement exercise and with key stakeholders.
Full details about the ideas, including how to have your say, are available at www.cwmtafuhb.wales.nhs.uk/older-persons-mental-health