Hamsterley ward

Auckland Park Hospital

Westfield Road

Bishop Auckland

County Durham, DL14 6AE

Tel: 01388 645313

About the service

Hamsterley is a female ward with 15 beds which provides assessment and treatment for older people experiencing complex organic mental health problems.

Organic mental illness includes conditions usually associated with memory loss and cognitive impairment, such as dementia.

Due to the complexity of the illness some patients may experience behaviours than challenge.

It is an integrated ward providing 24 hour, person centred care. Each patient receives a thorough assessment of their needs from the multi-disciplinary team.

The team work with the family to determine how best to engage the patient and to build up an understanding of their life history so that the patient receives person centred care to meet their individual needs.

The Hamsterley ward team

The team includes:

  • Ward manager
  • Clinical lead
  • Consultant psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Staff grade doctor
  • Qualified nursing staff and nursing assistants
  • Physical care consultant practitioner
  • Community psychiatric team
  • Physiotherapy
  • Dieticians
  • Occupational therapy
  • Activities coordinator

How to access the service

A GP will make a referral to a community psychiatric nurse / community mental health team, who will then agree the most appropriate pathway.

Assessment and treatment

On arrival patients and /or carers receive a full explanation of the admission process, expected timescales for procedures and assessments, and an explanation of the planned patient journey from admission to discharge.

A named nurse will be identified.

It is expected that patients will have a number of ongoing assessments, which include:

  • Medical screening, physical and mental state examinations
  • Screening by physiotherapy and occupational therapy
  • Baseline assessment including activities of daily living
  • Specialised/specific assessment tools
  • Comprehensive risk assessment
  • Patient pool activity levels - involves assessing a patients level of ability, daily living skill training and activity planning 
  • Assessment of sleep patterns
  • Monitoring daily early warning scores
  • Dietary assessment and weight monitoring
  • Formulation meetings

Patients/relatives/carers can expect to be informed when these assessments are being undertaken as well as their results, and be given the opportunity to discuss these with relevant professionals.

For each patient referred to the ward the service holds a multi disciplinary admission meeting within the first few days.  This is where the team discuss what is best for the patient following an initial assessment and discussion with the patient and or carer.

Depending upon the outcome of the admission meeting and collaboration with the patient and/ or carer, a care plan will be developed detailing the planned individual treatment.

A meeting is also held before discharge, at the end of the assessment to discuss future care and options.

Each patient is discussed daily with the multi disciplinary team where the presentation and progress are reviewed as well as the care and treatment plan.

The family and patient receive weekly contact from an identified named nurse.

About the ward

Hamsterley ward has a physical environment which is designed using some of the Dementia Sterling standards to reduce anxiety and promote well being as well as reducing the opportunity for conflict and allow individuals the space to wander should they choose to. Bright colours and soft furnishings support the overall positive appearance and try to counter the impairments which come with dementia.

All bedrooms have en-suite facilities and when someone comes into hospital it is the usual policy that their bedroom door will be left unlocked unless they (or a family member acting on their behalf) request that it will be locked. People who are able to manage keys will be offered the opportunity to have a key to their bedroom so that they can lock it when they wish.

Spending time outdoors is important and for people who are confused or have dementia it is particularly important in helping them recognise what time of day it is, or what time of year.

It is the usual policy to keep garden doors unlocked during daylight hours, weather permitting.

Other facilities on the ward include:

  • Two lounges 
  • Reading room
  • Quiet music room
  • Secure external garden for patients to access when weather permits 
  • Dining/activity room 
  • Two spacious bath/shower rooms with hoists fitted 
  • Ward clinic/examination room.
  • Hairdressers/beauty room
  • Computer room
  • Kitchen to support daily living activities
  • Wander pathway

The ward's activities coordinator assesses each person, learns their likes and dislikes as well as their abilities, and linking this in with the patients overall care plan implements the appropriate  level of meaningful activities for the person.

Meal times (protected)

Protected meal times ensure ward activity is reduced to a minimum so that patients can have their meals in a peaceful and calm environment, and enables staff to devote time to meal service and helping patients.

Mealtimes are:

Breakfast - 8am to 8.30am

Lunch - 12 noon to 1pm

Tea - 4.30pm to 5.30pm

Visiting times

We try to ensure maximum flexibility in visiting times and allow visitors between 10am and 8pm.

We do try to protect mealtimes but acknowledge that in some cases it may be more appropriate for families and carers to visit during these times. If this is the case or you wish to visit outside or normal visiting hours please speak with a member of staff on the ward.

Patient and carer information

Following the transfer of patients from Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham to Auckland Park Hospital we have two information leaflets that provide further information regarding choice on admission and excess travel support for carers.