Integrating care for older people with physical and mental health needs | News

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Integrating care for older people with physical and mental health needs

We are combining our expertise with that of a mental health trust to provide better joined up care for older people living with frailty. It is hoped this joint venture will prevent unnecessary trips to our County Hospital through offering better quality physical care for inpatients on the older adult mental health ward at Farnham Road Hospital.

Older people face a lot of different challenges when staying in hospital and it has been recognised that those in mental health facilities may be at increased risk of deteriorating due to their physical health needs.

Previously, patients being seen at Farnham Road Hospital in Guildford would often have to make trips to our County Hospital to receive care for certain things unable to be provided in house, however for older patients with more demanding physical needs this journey between sites may not be necessary.

As such, we are now working with Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to ensure these trips are kept to a minimum by providing the necessary support to Farnham Road Hospital.

Dr James Adams, Director of Integrated Care for Older People, said “We were delighted to be approached by the team at Surrey and Borders Partnership. It was clear from the outset that we were aligned in our thinking – that in order to provide better care for inpatients with mental health conditions we had to change the way we operated and adopt a more integrated approach.

“We were able to move very quickly to a collaborative approach which should help to minimise the trips to Royal Surrey by providing much more comprehensive assessment of both their physical and mental health needs combined.”

Sharon Gregory, Director of Older People and Specialist Services at Surrey and Borders, said: “Our older adult inpatients can now benefit from expert physical health care without the need to travel. This collaborative approach not only improves the experience of people using our services, but also enables mental health and physical health staff to share their expertise and learn from one another, improving patient care in the longer term”.

In order to deliver this support, Dr Agnes Toth, Associate Specialist in Geriatric Medicine, will provide her expertise weekly in collaboration with the mental health team at Farnham Road, as well as offering virtual advice about general medical problems and other frailty issues. Therefore, collaborating with the team at Farnham Road Hospital to ensure the patients get the best care possible without having to travel elsewhere.

By taking this integrated approach, we are creating an environment where older people are able to be admitted, cared for, and discharged largely within the same location, supporting them with their physical needs and so reducing any risk of deterioration.

Royal Surrey Charity