New mental health ward for older people opens in Leeds

A new inpatient ward for older people with mental health problems in Leeds has opened to help keep some of the city’s most vulnerable people safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.

staff in the new ward

The new Assessment and Enhanced Care Unit (AECU) opened at The Mount on Tuesday 5 May in support of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s response to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 12 bedded unit will provide assessments for those who need to be tested for Covid-19, ahead of a potential admission to one of The Mount’s older people’s inpatient wards. It will be staffed by a team of mental health nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and support workers.

The Mount, based near the city centre, serves primarily as the base for our Older People’s Inpatient Mental Health Service, providing support for people with acute mental health needs including dementia, with assessment, treatment and rehabilitation provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Trust moved its Mother and Baby Unit to a new temporary location in April to make way for the new AECU.

Eve Townsley, Head of Operations for the Trust’s Older Peoples Service, said “the opening of the new AECU has been made possible so rapidly through collaboration between the clinical teams, our estates colleagues and our contractor Interserve who have pulled out all the stops to make this happen so quickly”.

“Despite the difficult circumstances, everyone put in lots of additional hours to make sure all the equipment necessary was available. Staff in a wide variety of different roles all made incredible contributions”.

The aim of this AECU is to ensure that patients with unconfirmed cases of Covid-19 do not pose the risk of being admitted to a ward where there are known Covid-19 positive patients, or do not expose patients to the risk of infection on a ward where there are no known Covid-19 cases.

After testing, the team will then be able to make informed decisions about where it’s best for these patients to go, and whether they need to be nursed in isolation.

Scott Walker, Ward Manager of the AECU, said “The multi-disciplinary team on the AECU are committed to providing the highest standard of care where possible in these challenging times. We have a diverse staff team whom have a wide range of skills and qualities who have worked in various areas of the trust previously but all having a passion for working with older people and desire to make a difference”.

“Having a fully functioning AECU will aid the Mount in ability to further minimise the impact of Covid-19 providing a safe area for all service users to be admitted”.