Additional funding has been awarded by NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of its plan to deal with pressures during the winter period.
The scheme supports people aged over 65 with frailty and dementia and aims to reduce admissions to hospital, or where someone needs to come into hospital, to reduce the length of stay required.
Specialist mental health staff provide a telephone based advice and support programme, complimented by visits and assessments when required. Where necessary they can also call on specialist medication advice or the support of a psychiatrist.
The Hospital Avoidance team take referrals from GPs, nursing homes, acute hospital wards, police, social services and other mental health teams and look after patients who, with the additional support, do not need a hospital stay.
Any admission to hospital can be emotionally distressing and prolonged time in a hospital bed can also lead to physical deterioration. For a person with dementia, admission can be particularly traumatic leading to confusion and disorientation as well as being upsetting for carers.
Sharon Madden, ward manager at The Redwoods Centre, said: “The Hospital Avoidance Programme was initially created to offer support and assessment for people at home or in 24 hour care settings. With the expert assistance of our multidisciplinary team who are experienced in managing challenging dementia care patients, many people avoided admission to the mental health inpatient unit.
“During the pandemic we were also able to support our acute sector colleagues and keep many elderly people out of hospital. The success of the scheme now means we are able to recruit three additional members of staff and offer dedicated support to our health and social care colleagues”.