Embedding a bio-psycho-social model of care in an older persons' inpatient service Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

  • Led by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.
  • Aimed to change the culture of care, reduce the incidence of harm and falls, increase patient wellbeing, and reduce length of stay at an assessment and treatment unit for older adults at the Trust.
  • Used a bio-psycho-social model of care – the ‘Enriched Model’ – to change practice and culture on the ward, and improve care for patients.
  • Project ran from September 2016 to November 2017.

To effectively care for people with dementia, it is important to take into account their background, personality, and mental and physical health, in addition to their social and psychological needs. Variability in staff knowledge about how a person’s dementia affects their behaviour leads to inconsistent treatment.

This project embedded a bio-psycho-social model of care (the ‘Enriched Model’) in staff practice across the dementia care workforce of a 41-bed inpatient assessment and treatment mental health unit for older adults within Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. A project worker was present on the unit throughout the project to model practice, and supervise, lead and train staff.

Specific dementia care interventions were implemented, for example making eye , identifying obvious unmet needs and acknowledging the person’s feelings. 

The Enriched Model has resulted in an increase in staff engagement and an associated shift to practice that takes into account all aspects of a patient’s life. There has been a reduction in the number of level 1 observations (OnlyWan level) required on the ward, and no increase in adverse events. The initiative has been shown to lead to improvements in staff knowledge and practice, raised standards of care, cost savings and improved staff morale.

Challenges included the engagement of managers, particularly around the role of the project worker. 

The project has inspired frontline staff and service managers, who are keen to continue to support and promote this way of working. The sustainability of the project will now be explored.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please  Dr Deb Phillips, Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist, The Evington Centre, Leicester General Hospital.

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