Most patients treated by Westminster Older People Community Mental Health Team will have short-term mental health issues and after a period of weeks or months they will be referred back to their general practitioner (GP) when their condition has improved. A small minority, however, who need specialist care will remain with the team for a longer period for ongoing treatment, care and monitoring.
Community mental health teams (CMHTs) have three key functions in providing mental health care for older people:
- To give advice to other professionals on the management of mental health problems, in particular, providing advice to primary care, such as GP surgeries, and making sure appropriate referrals are made.
- Providing treatment and care for those with short-term mental health issues who can benefit from specialist interventions.
- Providing treatment and care for those with more complex needs.
CMHTs have access to a range of specialist therapies available to older people.
The team welcome referrals for service users with the following mental health difficulties:
- People of any age with a primary diagnosis of dementia (this excludes traumatic brain injury and Korsakoff's).
- People with mental disorder and significant physical illness or frailty which contributes to, or complicates the management of their mental disorder. Exceptionally this may include people under the age of 60 years.
- People with psychological or social difficulties related to the ageing process, or end of life issues, or who feel their needs may be best met by an older people service. This would normally include people over the age of 70 years.
The criteria above will be applied bearing in mind the person’s choice about services.
For people who haven’t ever had any contact with one of our community services, referrals can be made by a GP, social services or other health professionals.
However, if people have had previous contact with the team, they are welcome to call us to discuss any difficulties or concerns they might have.
The CMHTs will usually arrange to see people in their own homes by appointment and are not able to offer a walk-in service.
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The service is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.