"Not dead yet?!"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Mental Health Services for Older People – Inpatient

(as a carer),

I feel the need to highlight the gap, which I am experiencing between Adult Mental Health Services and MHSOP in Notts. Healthcare Trust. With the onset of depression/anxiety in my spouse, we suddenly found ourselves in the elderly directorate which is very daunting for active people in their mid 60’s.

I have been struggling for 2 years now and I am sharing this opinion as the service needs to be much more accessible for people who do not show the obvious signs of dementia but become depressed, withdrawn, isolated and fearful because their self-confidence has suddenly been taken away by the diagnosis.

`A` spent over 3 months on an elderly ward at the St Francis Unit; I felt I was not involved sufficiently with the discharge process and unprepared for our future. The situation we now find ourselves in is extremely upsetting and isolating. I feel it particularly as we have no direct family support and `A` rejects contact with anyone but myself, unless absolutely necessary.

Although we have been treated with respect since the onset of `A`s illness during the time spent in hospital and in the out-patient service, I feel that extra support/advice is required when people enter this stage in their lives – it is traumatising! After all, this is for life, with a gradual decline in the person`s condition and no hope of any real recovery. Roles and relationships suddenly change and this so very difficult for the person left caring. John Suchet mentions the invaluable support he received as his wife`s carer from Admiral Nurses – there aren`t any in Nottinghamshire, as he pointed out himself when he gave a presentation in the county. This sort of service should immediately be put into place when senior citizens face the onset of on-going mental illness in a partner.

There is an absolute need for partnership in the services to ensure people obtain the help they require at this time in their lives, particularly when the carer becomes isolated by the very nature of the person`s illness. I feel alone with this situation because `A` is reluctant to engage with anyone - but what about me? The service should seek the best way of ensuring both the person and carer are thoroughly prepared to face the home environment after a stay in hospital.

We are the younger generation of senior citizens and these points need addressing! With people living longer now, more research is urgently required to ensure that the problems which mental illness bring at this stage of life are addressed and managed appropriately. Without appropriate support it is so easy for sole carers to become demoralised, depressed and unwell themselves.

I would like to know if these comments will be taken on board by the Trust.

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Responses

Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

We appreciate any feedback whether it be positive or negative as it gives us the chance to improve services.

If you would like to offer the Trust your experience as a carer for someone with dementia, there are a number of involvement opportunities open to you.

Please call me Jane Danforth on 0115 9934567 for more information.

In the meantime I will be speaking to key people in MHSOP services to think about how we can address the points you raised. We will reply again to your posting in more detail after these conversations have taken place.

Thank you for your posting.

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Response from Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for your recent posting on to the site.

Whether a response is negative or positive, we take all of them seriously.

We are sorry for the experience you and your husband have encountered.

Your feedback has raised some issues that the Trust need to look at to make sure positive changes are made.

Please be assured that this process has already started.

If you would like to talk about your posting please call me:

Sharon Howe

Modern Matron MHSOP

Highbury Hospital, Nottingham NG6 9DR

Telephone 0115 8542257/ internal 12285

email: sharon.howe@nottshc.nhs.uk