New medical unit for dementia patients opens at Rochdale Infirmary
A brand new medical unit developed purely for patients with dementia from Rochdale borough has been officially opened at Rochdale Infirmary.
Commissioned by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, the Oasis Unit is a new five-bed facility which will allow the assessment and diagnosis of patients with dementia and confusion arriving with acute medical conditions, either through the Urgent Care Centre, the Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) or through direct GP referral.
Situated alongside the Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) at the Infirmary, patients will benefit from a ‘dementia friendly’ environment, enhanced nurse staffing ratios and the specialist input of Registered Mental Nurses. Daily medical input from doctors will be provided to the unit by the CAU medical staff. Patients will be able to access the same wide range of diagnostic facilities currently available to patients on the CAU.
The unit, believed to be the first of its kind in a hospital setting in England, will offer patients who present or who are referred to the hospital with a safe and suitable purpose-built environment to support recovery, as well as access to nursing and mental health staff.
The new service is a result of close partnership working between clinicians and senior management from the local NHS and Rochdale Borough Council.
In addition to the beds, the unit boasts its own relaxing lounge area, kitchen and dining area tailored for the needs of patients and their families and carers. A patient’s length of stay will be between five and seven days depending on their individual needs, as opposed to the current 48-hour length of stay and discharge target for the CAU. This will ensure referral and care pathways are designed to meet the needs of each individual patient, providing a better quality of continuing care. There will also be longer visiting hours for relatives and carers.
NHS Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) has invested the capital and revenue funding for this pioneering new service, around £1m. The service will be provided by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals from The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. It will also have a social worker from Rochdale Council Social Services.
Dr Lynn Hampson, local GP and NHS HMR CCG’s clinical lead for urgent care, said: “Real partnership working across the Rochdale borough has made the Oasis Unit possible and it’s fantastic to see such a unique vision become a reality. The unit has been designed to facilitate recovery and help to prevent frail, elderly and confused people from inappropriately being transferred to long term care because they weren’t in an environment conducive to their needs and recovery. I’m certain the Oasis Unit will put Rochdale on the map for all the right reasons and act as a flagship area for others.”
It’s a unique project that also showcases the importance of and continued partnership working that is happening across healthcare services in the Rochdale borough to improve care for patients. It is also another example of our commitment to deliver more services locally, which was outlined in the statement of intent we signed alongside The Pennine Acute Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in 2012.”
Dr Shona McCallum, consultant and clinical lead at Rochdale Infirmary, who will be leading the Oasis Unit, said:
“The development of the new Oasis Unit at Rochdale Infirmary is fantastic news for our staff, Rochdale Infirmary, our partners and, importantly, our patients and carers. The new unit will meet the needs of patients with dementia who present with an acute medical problem which requires treatment or diagnosis, caring for them in a safe and suitable environment with enhanced nursing care to support these vulnerable patients.
“The development has brought together a wide range of agencies and professionals including input from what are seen traditionally as non-medical or nursing teams, for example the catering department researching the best crockery and cutlery to encourage the patients to eat and developing the dining room, and our estates team looking at best practice and bringing it all together to design a dementia friendly environment. “
“Patients with dementia are increasing in number and newspaper headlines suggest that their care has not always been what it should. I believe that the Oasis is the start of a change in how we as the NHS, working in partnership with the community to deliver care to this group, a change we can build upon in the future.”
Two mental health nurses from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s RAID (rapid assessment interface and discharge) team will work with Pennine Acute staff on the unit. The older people’s RAID team works within the Trust’s neighbouring acute hospitals sites to offer psychiatry liaison services to provide more support to adult patients presenting at hospital with mental health problems, those with alcohol misuse issues and people with dementia.
Claire Warhurst, team manager for Older People’s RAID at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really exciting step and a fantastic example of how partnership working can result in the best care outcome for patients. The opening of the Oasis Unit means that as well as having their physical health looked after by acute staff, patients with dementia will have access to specialist mental health nurses to look after their psychological wellbeing, in a setting that is designed to meet their needs. Our nurses will also carry out follow-up work in the community to ensure that once patients are discharged, they are referred to community mental health services so their care can continue.”