A pilot programme launched in September by Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT designed to help patients to avoid unnecessary hospital admission, has been viewed successful.
The trusts now plan to roll-out the approach in 2022, where staff who are unsure whether a person needs to be taken to the Emergency Department have been using its OPAL+ service to carry out an initial triage.
Vanessa Scott, Advanced Clinical Practitioner, said: “We know that people recover better in familiar surroundings and often if somebody experiencing mental health issues is admitted unnecessarily to hospital, these issues can be exacerbated just adding to the problem.
“It has been a huge privilege to work on such an innovative approach and to see first-hand the difference it makes to the people we are caring for. The attitude of the OPAL+ team is just simply superb, even at a time when the health and social care system is under such intense pressure from every direction.”
Leona Tasab, Nurse Consultant for Physical Health at the BSMHFT and liaison link with OPAL+, added: “The Reservoir Court trial is a great example of closer collaboration with our healthcare colleagues across Birmingham. Everybody involved in strengthening these links between mental health services and OPAL+ has shown an open-door ethos which has been fantastic. We know that our patients may face added difficulties when attending the Emergency Department. It may exacerbate confusion, increase anxiety and cause agitation and behaviours that challenge.”