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The Psychological Medicine & Older Adults Directorate provide services for people with memory problems and/or dementia or with complex mental health needs who require assessment and/or treatment by a specialist service. This is generally for people over the age of 65, or of any age if they have dementia.

Access to appropriate services

There are a number of access points to the Directorate’s clinical services. This is dependent on either the specific needs of the patients or the setting they are being referred from. The majority of care and treatment the Directorate provides is in the community.

The points of access are as follows:

  • Community Mental Health Teams: People requiring care and treatment from our services will usually be seen either by their local community mental health team if the person is experiencing moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety, psychosis, personality disorder, or behavioural and psychological symptoms of moderate to severe dementia.
  • Memory Services: People experiencing memory problems, which could be caused by an undiagnosed dementia will be seen by a memory service.
  • Specialist Care Home Support Teams: People who are living in care homes or attending local day centres experiencing mental health problems and or dementia will be seen by specialist mental health interventions teams.
  • General Hospital Psychiatric Liaison: In some cases, if the person is receiving care and treatment from an acute hospital, the referral will come from the doctors or nurses from this hospital to one of our hospital based liaison services.
  • Home Treatment Teams: In a small number of cases the problems experienced by people using our services can be very complex and where a high level of risk is identified to that person or those around them, they will be supported by our home treatment service.
  • Inpatients Services: If it is believed that a person’s needs cannot be safely managed in the community, referral will be made to our inpatient services.

When a person is experiencing mild depression and/or anxiety, their care is usually managed by their GP who might refer the patient for psychological therapy at the local IAPT service. The community mental health teams will provide GPs with advice and information if they are unclear about the care pathway for people with mild depression and/or anxiety.

The care pathway website provides information about services offered in relation to specific disorders (Homepage). Visit the Psychological Medicine and Older Adults Directorate for further information on our services provided.

Managing referrals

The community mental health teams operate a duty worker system to manage referrals. The duty will screen urgent and non-urgent referrals by contacting the patient, carer or referrer to gain a better understanding of the persons needs and the presenting risk to establish how best the team should respond. Urgent access to the home treatment team or inpatient admission is usually managed by the duty system for new presentations. If the community team believes that the person’s needs will be best met by our memory or care home support services the duty worker will direct the referrer to the appropriate team. GPs and other health and social care professionals can make direct referrals to the Directorate’s memory services. GPs and care home staff can directly refer to the specialist care home support teams.

To ensure that referrals are dealt with responsively and that the right treatment and care is provided to meet the person’s needs, the following information should accompany the referral:

  • Name of person, DOB, ethnicity, NHS number
  • Contact details of the person and significant others where available
  • Reason for referral
  • Any current risk issues
  • Current medication
  • Past and current medical history
  • Past psychiatric history if known
  • Results of recent investigations where available

Out of hours support

The majority of our community services operate during working hours Monday to Friday. For any urgent care needs and concerns, people using our services and their carers should contact their GP or call the NHS emergency and urgent care service by telephoning 111. If there are serious concerns about the patient’s safety and wellbeing, attend the nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

Information about the NHS 111 phone service