Changes to Older People’s Community Mental Health Services and Memory Assessment Service during the Coronavirus pandemic
Updated December 2020
During the Coronavirus pandemic we have had to change the way we provided support to you, in order to keep you and our members of staff safe. This has meant limiting the amount of people we see face-to-face, and some of our services unfortunately being paused.
We want to update you on our current situation and what to expect.
How will I receive my care?
For the time being, the majority of your contact will be offered by digital methods where possible. This includes telephone, video consultations, and possibly text messaging and email.
If you are given an individual member of staff’s work phone number or email address, the appropriate use of this will be discussed with you.
We will still see people face-to-face where that is needed. This will include when we need to do memory tests that can’t be done remotely. Many people may receive a mixture of different contact types.
Keeping us all safe
If you are seen face-to-face, our staff must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This could include face mask, apron, gloves and visor / goggles.
You should also wear a face covering unless you are exempt. A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
We are unable to see people in some of our buildings at present, and when they do re-open, spaces will be very limited in order to maintain safety in our clinical areas.
If you need a face-to-face appointment but this cannot be done at your home or in an outdoor space, you may be asked to travel to an alternative Trust location to be seen.
What if telephone / video isn’t suitable for me?
You will not be disadvantaged
We recognise that digital doesn’t suit everybody. You may not have the equipment, know how to use it, have private space, or other things that make it difficult for you.
You have a choice
The team should discuss your preferences with you, and agree how you will communicate and receive your care. This can change and be reviewed as part of your care plan.
We can help
We will try to support you in overcoming some of these barriers where we can, so you can receive the same care by video consultation. This can be done on a computer, smartphone or tablet. We can offer advice and help to get set up online.
Why aren’t things returning to how they were?
Limiting the spread of the virus
We have to take a cautious approach and continue to limit our face-to-face contacts as much as possible to avoid further spread of the virus. This is to keep you, your families, and our staff safe.
We cannot run things such as outpatient clinics as we used to due to the limited space in our buildings. Using digital technologies allows us to still offer those services just in other ways.
Impact of PPE
We know it can be difficult communicating and building a relationship with staff in masks. A video consultation can sometimes be better than a face-to-face appointment in this case, so you can see the professional’s face whilst talking to them.
Many people have found benefits to video and telephone consultations. This includes reduced travel, reduced costs, increased flexibility and more. For this reason it is something we want to continue to offer moving forwards.
We thank you for your patience and understanding
We’re keen to hear about your thoughts and experiences of your care over recent months.
If you have received a survey please consider sparing a few minutes to complete it and send it back to us in the prepaid envelope provided.
Alternatively, you can complete our feedback survey online:
or scan the QR code with your smartphone camera.
About the service
Our Older People’s Community Mental Health Service is a dedicated service for people aged 65 and over living in Leeds. We also run services for adults aged 18 to 65 years old.
This service consists of three teams operating across Leeds offering home-based care to older people experiencing complex, severe and enduring mental health problems including mood disorders, psychosis and dementia.
It also hosts our Memory Assessment Service which provides assessment, diagnosis and treatment for people diagnosed with dementia and mild cognitive impairment – when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.
The service consists of many different professionals who work together to provide specialist community-focused mental health services to older adults. Normally we consider those routinely over 65 years of age but this can vary depending on individual need. Also many people aged 65 and over do not consider themselves to be “old” and may have active work and social lives.
We work together with service users, carers and families help them reach their potential, and we support people to enjoy a valued, satisfying and meaningful life.
The aims of our service are:
- To offer a full professional assessment of people’s mental health needs
- To work with service users and carers to provide a detailed care plan and crisis plan
- To see or have contact with service users within 15 days of referral for assessment
- To provide a service for people with complex mental health needs, who can be safely supported in the community using the Care Programme Approach (CPA)
- To ensure services are accessible to all sections of the Leeds population within each locality, in line with our principles of equality and diversity
- To provide a joined up approach to care, working with other mental health, physical health and social care services across Leeds