WARD WILL STAY SHUT ‘Ongoing conversation’ about Crieff unit
A ward at Crieff Community Hospital which was dedicated to taking care of people with dementia will stay shut as a health board continues to look at implementing reform across the region.
The board responsible for overseeing the integration of health and social care in the region has decided Crieff Community Hospital’s ward one, which has been in what NHS Tayside calls “nonoperational status” since January due to a decreasing number of inpatients being treated there, should stay shut.
It has further decided the staff who formerly worked on the ward will now be asked to work with new care home liaison teams as part of ongoing efforts to try to reduce the number of elderly people with dementia having to be admitted to hospital from care homes as emergencies.
This was one of three options put to Perth and Kinross’ Integration Joint Board ( IJB) last Friday, the
other two options being to do nothing to change how care for the elderly is currently being delivered across Perth and Kinross or to further develop a community mental health team specifically covering south Perthshire.
A report put before the board said the option to boost care home liaison teams was the “preferred option”, however, as this would ensure“the best use of resources and provide the step change required to move towards a more integrated, person centred approach which ensures the right care is provided at the right time by the right person with the right skills.”
And a business case for the proposed model of care attached to the paper explained further: “The model being proposed is to enhance specialist liaison and transitional care provision across Perth and Kinross to support older people living with mental health needs in their own homely environment.
“It will support people living in care homes to receive the care and support required to remain in that care home for as long as possible. Enhanced support will also be provided at times of transition in the patient’s care journey into hospital and back home as well as into a care home.
“Education and training will be provided to support hospital and care home staff to understand the needs of people living with mental health needs. In addition, the model will support the development of specialist support, where needed.”
Introducing the papers to the IJB and explaining the rationale behind picking the preferred option NHS Tayside’s Evelyn Devine said hospitals had to accept 600 people from care homes across Perth and Kinross as emergencies in 2016/17 which used up 8642 bed days.
She went on to say that it is estimated there are currently 2700 people living in Perth and Kinross with dementia and that health bosses are expecting this number to greatly increase in the coming years.
“[Developing] the dementia liaison service would allow us to support more people in a timely way in their own home or in a care home setting,” she said.
Weighing up the papers councillor Chris Ahern – who represents the centre of Perth – said he was in favour of the preferred option but asked what would happen to ward one and also asked what future Crieff Community Hospital has.
Robert Packham, the IJB’s chief officer, would only say that the Scottish Government was having an “ongoing conversation” about the future of community hospitals across Scotland.
Ms Devine added there had been some interest in the ward from the voluntary sector and that a discussion had even taken place about setting up a Men’s Shed there. Men’s Sheds is a concept that originated in Australia to create somewhere men can call their own, where they can spend time sharing skills, knowledge and interests in a relaxed atmosphere.
NHS Tayside’s Allan Drummond then said he was “disappointed” to read an assertion in the papers that health officials had been having “regular ongoing discussions” with ward one staff about the changes being proposed.
He said he sat in on the only meeting that health officials had arranged for the staff and that they were not given any papers explaining the various options being considered.
“The staff were verbally given the three options and the meeting lasted about 15 minutes,” he said.
The board was asked to approve the preferred option to enhance care home liaison teams, note the internal and external consultation and engagement activity that had taken place and approve key milestones for the implementation of the preferred option.
The three proposals were unanimously approved by the board.
Options Crieff Community Hospital