Transformed older adult ward set to reopen

Brant Ward in Lincoln is set to reopen following a major £4million refurbishment to improve privacy and dignity for patients.

The 18 bed ward for older people over the age of 65 in mental health crisis, had dormitory style bays which are no longer considered good practice in a modern mental health care environment.  Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the service, wants to ensure these are eradicated across all wards over the next few years and new en-suite bedrooms made available to patients.

The ward which has been closed since October 2018 has now been handed over by Vinci Construction via Integrated Health Projects (IHP), ready for patients to return in mid-February. Brant Ward will then become the Trust’s main older adult mental health ward in the county.

During the closure patients have been supported by an expanded community service, which has included a pilot of a new home treatment team. The pilot has offered intensive support seven days a week to patients in their normal place of residence, providing an alternative to hospital admission.

The pilot has been staffed and funded by the Trust whilst Brant Ward refurbishments took place and has greatly reduced the number of patients admitted to hospital during this time. It has also received positive feedback from patients, carers, clinical staff and partners.

Chris Higgins explains:

“Over the past year we have been talking to service users, carers and our partners about how we could improve mental health services for older adults in the county. We have clearly heard that people would like increased community support, which is available seven days a week, close to home and with inpatient hospital care only when needed. During Brant Ward’s refurbishment we were able to test out a new model of care that is delivering this increased community support.

“Offering service users and their family support that enables them to stay at home safely will always be our priority, and as we continue our discussions with people on the Lincolnshire long term plan, we feel it is right to continue to offer home treatment across the county.

“The home treatment team has evidenced that we need less inpatient beds, which will mean we are able to use the best of our inpatient wards for our patients.”

Whilst Brant Ward now delivers single en-suite bedrooms in a modern, accessible and therapeutic space, Rochford Unit in Boston does not meet essential quality standards for mental health wards. The ward is based on the first floor and has dormitory style bedrooms. There are also a number of other factors which mean that it is difficult to protect the privacy and dignity of patients in this setting. This is something which has also been identified by the Care Quality Commission during inspections. 

Chris added:

“To enable us to continue to deliver home treatment, we plan to no longer use Rochford Unit and instead use the recently refurbished Brant Ward as our main older adult mental health unit. The enhanced ward space is a truly outstanding environment for our patients.

“The home treatment team will continue to operate seven days a week across the county, with an additional hub in Boston. Patients currently receiving care at Rochford Ward are being informed of the change, and the intention to move to Brant Ward in the coming weeks.

“As Rochford has been operating as the county’s single older adult mental health ward for the last year we do not anticipate a significant change in the way we currently deliver services. Patients currently on the ward can be admitted from anywhere in the county and this will continue, however at Lincoln instead of Boston, with the added benefit of additional community support with the extra hub on the East Coast.”

Discussions regarding the longer term plans for older adult services in Lincolnshire will continue with service users, carers, partners and our commissioners so that the Trust can hear what is important as we further develop and improve our mental health services across Lincolnshire.

The Trust will also be hosting an open evening at the newly refurbished Brant Ward on Thursday 13 February for anyone wanting a tour of the new environment. People can drop in at Brant Ward in Lincoln anytime between 5pm and 8pm.

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