New community service for older people with dementia
13 September 2019

Older people with dementia will be supported in the community by a new NHS service, following a decision by Isle of Wight NHS Trust, supported by clinical commissioners.

The Trust Board met on September 5 to discuss the future of Shackleton Ward at St Mary’s Hospital, which is closed to admissions because of staff shortages.

The publication of a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report also highlighted concerns about the quality of care provided on the ward prior to its closure to admissions.

The Trust Board decided that the ward will remain closed and that the Trust will work with commissioners to set up a new, improved service that will support older people in their homes or nursing and care homes, rather than on a hospital ward.

Dr Lesley Stevens, the Trust’s Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, said: “We have been working with our clinical commissioners and have agreed that Shackleton Ward will remain closed indefinitely because of a shortage of staff.

“We will work together to create a new service for older people with dementia that will support them in the community, including in their own home and in residential or nursing homes. 

“The community-based service will be better for those people needing support, their families and the wider community.

“Creating this new service fits with the priorities set out in the Mental Health Blueprint and the Isle of Wight Health and Care Plan, both show that to improve mental health services we must change our model of care to be more community-based.”

The Trust confirmed that a small number of people may need to be placed on the mainland while the new service is being set up, but added that the new service will work hard to avoid the need for admission, and to enable early discharge.

The Mental Health Blueprint and Health and Care Plan set out a vision for services that are shared between the Trust, clinical commissioners and the council.

Work to transform mental health services on the Island continues, in collaboration with Age UK Isle of Wight, Alzheimer’s Café IOW, Carers IW and Healthwatch Isle of Wight, who are all working together to develop an Island-wide strategy for dementia care.

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