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New medical unit for dementia patients opens at Rochdale Infirmary

Press release   •   Apr 15, 2014 11:33 BST

A new medical unit developed purely for patients with dementia from Rochdale borough has opened at Rochdale Infirmary, where there will be a social worker from Rochdale Borough Council Social Services.

Commissioned by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, the Oasis Unit is a new five-bed facility which will allow the assessment and diagnosis of patients with dementia and confusion arriving with acute medical conditions, either through the Urgent Care Centre, the Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) or through direct GP referral.

Situated alongside the Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) at the Infirmary, patients will benefit from a ‘dementia-friendly’ environment, enhanced nurse staffing ratios and the specialist input of Registered Mental Nurses. Daily medical input from doctors will be provided to the unit by the CAU medical staff. Patients will be able to access the same wide range of diagnostic facilities currently available to patients on the CAU.

The unit, believed to be the first of its kind in a hospital setting in England, will offer patients who present or who are referred to the hospital with a safe and suitable purpose-built environment to support recovery, as well as access to nursing and mental health staff.

The new service is a result of close partnership working between clinicians and senior management from the local NHS and Rochdale Borough Council.

In addition to the beds, the unit boasts its own relaxing lounge area, kitchen and dining area tailored for the needs of patients and their families and carers. A patient’s length of stay will be between five and seven days depending on their individual needs, as opposed to the current 48-hour length of stay and discharge target for the CAU. This will ensure referral and care pathways are designed to meet the needs of each individual patient, providing a better quality of continuing care. There will also be longer visiting hours for relatives and carers.

NHS Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) has invested the capital and revenue funding for this pioneering new service, around £1m. The service will be provided by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals from The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Lynn Hampson, local GP and NHS HMR CCG’s clinical lead for urgent care, said: “Real partnership working across the Rochdale borough has made the Oasis Unit possible and it’s fantastic to see such a unique vision become a reality. The unit has been designed to facilitate recovery and help to prevent frail, elderly and confused people from inappropriately being transferred to long term care because they weren’t in an environment conducive to their needs and recovery. I’m certain the Oasis Unit will put Rochdale on the map for all the right reasons and act as a flagship area for others.”

It’s a unique project that also showcases the importance of and continued partnership working that is happening across healthcare services in the Rochdale borough to improve care for patients. It is also another example of our commitment to deliver more services locally, which was outlined in the statement of intent we signed alongside The Pennine Acute Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in 2012.”

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