Acute community teams - RRICE and nursing/residential homes/liaison/hospital mental health liaison team

Alexander House

Ash Tree Road

Knaresborough, HG50UB

Tel number: 01423 795180
Fax number: 01423 795179

The service is based at Alexander House - an inpatient unit based in Knaresborough. 

About the service

This service provides short term rapid interventions and treatment for older people in the community, be that their own home, a nursing/residential home or in the general hospital setting offering an alternative to admission to a mental health inpatient unit. The service is available 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

The service also acts as gatekeeper for older people's mental health beds.

The team aims to respond to urgent mental health assessments within 4 hours during their working day. For referral for patients who are presenting with increasing risk factors the team aims to respond on the same or next day. It is expected that all referrals dependant upon level of risk will be responded to within 72 hours.

Where a patient needs admission to hospital and it is believed that they may need an assessment under the mental health act the service will respond with a visit in 4 working hours or will signpost the referrer to the required service.

The service is for people with a functional illness who are over the age of 65 and for people with an organic based dementia, including those with early age onset (less than 65 years).

Treatment and therapies

The service offers a holistic assessment and treatment plan based on a recovery model, which includes access to:

  • Cognitive stimulation and cognitive behavioural based therapies
  • Psychological therapies
  • Medication treatment plan
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy.

The service also offer an educational role within the liaison service for nursing and care homes.

The team

The multi-disciplinary team includes doctors, nurses, health care assistants, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist and secretaries.

How to access the service

Referrals to the service are received from GPs, health and adult services, allied health professionals, community health teams and secondary community mental health teams.

Referrals to the acute community team are made by telephone and to the liaison service by fax or letter.

How does the assessment process work?

Following referral a team worker will contact the patient to arrange a visit to their home, care home or residential home, or at a mutually agreed neutral venue.

The team worker, with the patient's agreement, will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of their needs
  • Speak to relatives/carers and any statutory, voluntary and independent sector agencies the patient may be involved with, if this is appropriate, to plan and meet the patient's immediate care needs
  • Carry out risk assessments, to include a plan of care which promotes well being and recovery and which is responsive to changes in clinical risk.

The team worker or a colleague will then arrange further visits to monitor the patient's response to treatment and recovery. This could be up to 4 visits a day, a daily visit or twice a week visits, depending on need.

This team offers a short term intensive intervention in the patient's home focusing on clinical risk and immediate needs for a period which would not exceed 6 to 8 weeks. The team will then either discharge the patient back to the care of their GP or will refer the patient to other teams, such as the community mental health team.

This service also includes a medication review nurse, who will monitor the use of antipsychotics and dementia drugs for patients referred to the service in nursing and care homes. This is a longer term function of the team and the patient may be involved with the service for 12 to 24 months.