Assessing the mental health needs of older people
It is generally accepted that an acute hospital ward is not an appropriate environment for an older person once they no longer require acute medical care, but the need for a further period of recuperation may be necessary. Assessments of older people in hospital are therefore likely to commence before the person has fully recovered, which may make it more difficult to gauge a person's real capabilities or potential. 'Intermediate care' is increasingly being used to bridge the gap between hospital and the community, and the Department of Health now requires health and social services to ensure that intermediate care services are available for people with dementia. (23)
However, there is a risk to older people with dementia that changes in environment and routine can be extremely disorienting and exacerbate their difficulties, so transfers of care need to be kept to a minimum. The Department of Health Change Agent Team has issued guidance on discharge from hospital and moves within hospital for people with dementia.
Health and Social Care Change Agent Team guidance:
- Discharge from hospital: getting it right for people with dementia. (24)
- Moves in hospital: Getting it right for people with dementia. (25)
- SCIE Research briefing 12: Involving older people and their carers in after-hospital care decisions.
Next: Getting the basics right