Mental Health Support for Acute to Community

Two thirds of hospital beds are occupied by people aged over 65 and of these, two thirds have some form of mental health issue, often Dementia. Post-hospital admission mental health issues can have a significant impact upon a person's recovery and rehabilitation, and may increase the risk of a failed hospital discharge or a new long term care placement.

To see whether early intervention at the point of admission to hospital could support swifter referrals onto specialist mental health teams and improve the hospital discharge process for people aged over 65 with Dementia, a specialist psychiatric liaison nurse was recruited to work in the Older Adult Liaison Team for six months and is now based in the Frailty Unit at St Thomas' Hospital.

One of the key aims of the specialist psychiatric liaison nurse role is to gain an understanding of the demands placed upon hospital services, so this project can test a service model that can best support older people with Dementia and people with physical and multiple mental health issues. The nurse began in February 2015 and has provided valuable information about hospital demand and what can be done to support these people.