Better care for hospital patients with dementia in Devon

Via Exeter Express and Echo

Patients with dementia in Exeter are benefiting from new ways of working at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, thanks to a pilot assessment service.

An older people’s mental health liaison service, run by Devon Partnership NHS Trust at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, identifies and assesses people with memory problems, dementia or other mental health issues who are admitted to acute care for medical reasons.

The pilot began in August 2010 as part of NHS Devon’s dementia awareness strategy and is subject to evaluation.

It aims to ensure that people with dementia get better outcomes, shorter stays in hospital and prompt transfers of care. It also helps patients find other services such as support groups.

Dr David Somerfield, a consultant psychiatrist with Devon Partnership NHS Trust who specialises in the care of older people, said:

“We know that we need to have specialist expertise in place to support people with dementia right across the health and social care system.

This is particularly true in our acute hospitals, where people may have been admitted with any one of a number of physical health needs but may also have mental health needs, such as dementia.”

He said feedback from families and carers had been positive:

“Our next challenge is to provide enhanced levels of support for people with dementia at Devon’s many local community hospitals and we are already making headway with this project.”

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