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Older Persons’ Mental Health Service: Coming Together as a Team

30 July 2020

The Older Persons’ Mental Health Service cares for older patients with dementia and complex physical and mental health problems in hospital and the community.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff came together from across the Trust to protect and care for vulnerable patients on Limes and Jubilee wards.

This is how they came together as a team:

Emma McClelland, Senior Nurse Practitioner, explained the teams’ priority: “It’s about staff just thinking of the patients as their families.”

During this period, staff came together from the community, inpatient wards and other areas of the Trust:

  • More than 50 members of staff moved from their normal areas of work to support the consolidated teams caring for patients on Limes and Jubilee inpatient wards, including Covid-19 areas
  • Psychology support for patients and staff was set up quickly and was well-received
  • Every community patient was contacted and offered support with shielding registration and other help required
  • Making sure that carers and families could keep in touch with patients via iPads and by phone

Describing the impact on patients of staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment, Inocencia Mashamba, Ward Manager, said: “Most of them had a diagnosis of dementia, so it was quite difficult for them to understand why we had to do it, even though we had to continuously explain that we are doing this so that we can protect them.”

The flexibility and resilience shown by staff demonstrated how the Trust can continue to provide high quality care, putting patients first, during a period of unprecedented crisis.

Consultant, Dr Sofia Zarate Escudero, said:  “I was particularly amazed how everyone just took it in their stride.  So, yes, the anxiety was there, the anxiety of the unknown, but everyone just kept going and more than anything, it felt OK.”