Improved Community Mental Health Services
Thousands of people are benefitting from redesigned community mental health services in Leeds since new services launched in March 2019.
The changes follow a huge three year project and now include dedicated community teams for both younger and older adults, a new 24/7 mental health crisis service and an intensive home treatment team.
During 2018 the Trust involved thousands of staff, members, service users, carers and partners in shaping the new services and many of their suggestions have been implemented in the new service models.
Andy Weir, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Trust, chaired the Project Board that led the redesign of services. He said: “These changes will improve the quality of care we offer to people, ensuring timely access to the right specialist health staff.
“We’ve increased our provision of home-based treatment over hospital-based treatment, which we know is how most people want to access community mental health services.”
Why the change?
Over the last three years the Trust reviewed its community mental health services for adults under 65 and older people – mostly defined as people over 65.
Andy explains: “We found that the ‘ageless service’ we launched in 2012 did not reach the standards of care that we aspired to, especially for our older service users, and we were not delivering the type of crisis and home treatment services that we know are most effective.
“Referrals into our community mental health services have more than doubled since the ageless model was launched in 2012. Our teams have attempted to absorb this additional workload, but this has led to staff holding very high caseloads, which meant we were spreading ourselves too thinly to deliver the quality of care we aspired to.
“In order to address all of these concerns, we worked with people across the city to redesign our services.”
What do services look like now?
Here’s a quick run-down of the Trust’s new-look community mental health services and links to their respective pages on our website.
A new community mental health service for adults under 65
This is designed to work with adults (usually aged 18-65) in two groups
- those that require shorter time-limited services, and
- those with more complex needs that require longer term care.
The service operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with support from other services (described below) outside these hours. It offers home-based treatment for the majority of people where this is appropriate but there will also be opportunities to receive services in other community locations.
The new Crisis Resolution and Intensive Support Service (CRISS)
This service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It support adults (usually aged 18-65) experiencing a mental health crisis with intensive home-based treatment as a genuine alternative to hospital admission. It will also support older people in crisis outside of normal working hours.
New community mental health teams for older people
This is a new dedicated service for people aged over 65. This service will be run by three teams operating across Leeds offering home-based care to people who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
They will also work with people experiencing problems related to dementia if it has already been diagnosed. Previously this work would have been done by our Memory Service so this is a change to previous arrangements.
A new Intensive Home Treatment Team (IHTT) for older people
This new service assesses and cares for older people with more acute and complex problems related to their mental health or dementia. It provides intense support to help avoid hospital admission if that is what the person prefers. This means they will normally offer support where a person lives. The team also helps to support people when they are discharged from hospital.
The Memory Assessment Service (MAS)
The Memory Assessment Service continues to provide assessment, diagnosis and short-term treatment for older people experiencing early dementia and focuses on diagnosing memory problems.
The majority of people are seen in a clinic and some in their own home if required. Their aim is to see people within eight weeks from referral and make their diagnosis within 12 weeks of referral.
A new care homes service
Our new Care Homes Service supports people with mental health problems who live in care homes across Leeds. It is now be split into two teams.
- A team working with people with longer term mental health needs, including people with dementia. This is to ensure these people receive the same level of service they could expect if they were living at home – where they would be under the care of a Community Mental Health Team for example.
- An intensive care homes team who will work with people in the shorter term. Their focus is helping people in care homes avoid hospital admission, and to support faster discharge from hospital back to care homes.
The Younger People with Dementia Team
This team has not changed and will continue to provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment for working age adults with dementia and their families.