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Older people with mental health risks better supported under BCF

20th November 2014 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

A team of three community mental health practitioners are now in place across the city, funded by the Leicester City BCF. The team are helping to detect mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and the early symptoms of dementia in older people. The team ensure that these patients have the support in place to prevent them needing treatment in hospital.

Previously it meant patients would have to go to hospital as it was the only place to care for them safely, now patients are referred from their GP and seen in their own community by a highly qualified nurse and can remain there safely and independently with the right support in place.

A pilot service ran for 18 months between 2011 and 2013, which successfully assessed more than 200 patients, 142 of these patients were assessed and treated in the community by a mental health nurse, provided by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, preventing a spell in hospital. Due to the success of the pilot the scheme has been reintroduced on a wider scale under the BCF.

Mrs Mary Whitmore, 77 and her husband John, 79, from Thurmaston received support from the service when he started experiencing memory problems. Mrs Whitmore said, “John started having problems with his memory so he was referred to the support worker by our GP. He had already been to the hospital where they did some assessments. Our support worker, Stephen, explained everything to us and made the process so much easier. We now have the peace of mind that if we have any worries or John’s memory gets worse we can contact Stephen and he’ll give us the advice we need.”

Dr Nitin Joshi, one of four project leads on the BCF programme, speaking on behalf of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group and Leicester City Council, said: “The aim of this service is very much about looking after the psychological aspects of an older person’s care, ensuring that the patient is fully supported and keeping more people out of hospital that don’t really need to be there.

“Patients identified with underlying mental health conditions will be better supported so they can stay in their own surroundings which will immediately help them relax and feel safe as well as make managing their condition easier. Our psychological, social and general health is closely linked to our quality of life. The scheme brings together these three elements to ensure patients experience quality care and live longer, healthier lives.”

The community mental health practitioner service will undergo full evaluation at the end of 14/15 and a decision will be made on whether to further expand the current service.

The Leicester City Better Care Fund (BCF) is a joint fund between Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Leicester City Council, supported by local health and social care partners, and provides a new integrated health and social care service.

The BCF will apply across the UK from April 2015. However, the combined efforts of the local health and social care partners means that Leicester people are already benefitting from a more positive experience and a better quality of care.

For more information speak to your GP or log on to our website http://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/find-a-service/our-services/better-care-fund/  to read about our plans under Better Care Fund.

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