It was recognised that an increasing number of older people with dementia and/or mental health problems are admitted to acute hospital inpatient settings. These patients often require additional supports and hospital staff are less able to manage these patients within a busy ward environment. In addition to increasing staff skills through staff training, often individual patients will highlight specific issues which require a more specialist understanding or assessment. The project sought to provide this additional support and assessment.
In the view of ‘Care closer to home ’(Darzi) 2008, AHPs play an integral role in deciding whether a patient is safe for discharge. They are well positioned to deal with the wide range of pathologies and complexities presented. Additionally, evidence relating to emergency admissions of older people suggests assessment should take place as early as possible depending on medical stability (RCPL – Management of the older medical patient, RCPL 2000).