Older lady sat at home using a tablet

Lancashire and South Cumbria to trial solution for older mental health needs

Lancashire County Council have announced that they are to test an innovative mental health care solution, empowering older people who have mental health needs to be more independent.

The test will see mental health patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital moved to as community setting, where they will be supported and assessed over a six-week period. This will then allow carers to understand the support that the individual needs in place to return home, or to a longer-term care setting.

Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Graham Gooch, said:

“This trailblazing project provides an innovative and ground-breaking approach that aligns with this vision, enabling people to maintain their dignity and retain their independence.

“We anticipate it will provide truly personalised care that meets and is yet another example of how effective collaborative working can achieve better outcomes for Lancashire residents.”

With the current approach seeing patients assessed in hospital, the new method will ensure that beds can be freed up sooner as well as assessors seeing the patient in a more natural environment, making it easier to see what the patient is capable of doing independently, and what they need support with.

Fleur Carney, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board’s Mental Health Director, said:

“This is a really exciting programme that is already gaining attention from other areas who are keen to follow our example. It would not be possible without the excellent partnership working of everyone involved.

“Our ambition in Lancashire and South Cumbria is that mental health and wellbeing is considered of equal importance to physical health in all of our communities. When people require more support, they should be able to access an effective range of age-appropriate mental health services. This is one of many approaches we are taking to offer parity of esteem for people with mental health needs to the intermediate care system.”

The pilot is also focusing on helping those who may not be as accustomed to using modern technology become more comfortable. Digital technology experts will be part off the team, helping residents to become more confident with the technology of today, whilst digital smart medicine cabinets and video conferencing are expected to improve the quality of life for patients.

The pilot began in September, running until March 2023, and making use of three care homes in East Lancashire, Preston and Morecambe Bay. It is hoped that the pilot will help health professionals learn more about what is successful and what isn’t, before extending it to other areas.

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