The Older People’s Short Term Assessment Team is a multidisciplinary team that includes social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and intermediate care support workers.
The service is for people aged 65 and over who are not in receipt of any social care services or have had an acute episode and require temporary additional support.
It is hoped this new service will allow older people and their carers to quickly access advice, support and assessment without delay via a centralised phone number.
The team will focus on consistency of care, recovery, independence and service user experience with the aim of improving the outcomes and quality of life of older people, in hope of helping them to remain at home, avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital, timely returns home with recovery help and prevention of moving into care homes unless they really need to.
Jo Burns, Assistant Director of Older Peoples Services explained: “The Older People’s Short Term Assessment Team will be accessed via the single point of access telephone number (028) 9598 8098, which was introduced to the Ards and North Down area in late 2019.
“This will make it easier for people to quickly contact the most appropriate person if they need to make a referral for an initial assessment or they simply require advice or guidance.
“The Team aims to assist older people to live for longer in their own homes, maximising their potential and to promote independence and quality of life.”
Kathy Kearney, Operations Manager detailed how, “The Older People’s Short Term Assessment Team will be an expansion of the current intermediate care services in Down & Lisburn, which will streamline access for service users and carers at the ‘front door’ of Older People’s Services, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity of a professional initial assessment and if required, full multidisciplinary input within a person’s own home.”
Kathy also acknowledged that there was “a need for bed based services for those individuals who were not yet strong enough to return home from hospital or those who had hit crisis point at home, but do not need to be admitted to hospital.”
She continued: “Admission to a short term bed can be arranged, where the individual can receive multidisciplinary input from social work, occupational therapy and physiotherapy to assist them to regain their health and independence so that we can help them to return back to their own home again as quickly as possible.”
Noting the growing demographic of older people in the South Eastern HSC Trust area Jo Burns concluded: “We really have to do something to assist older people to remain as healthy and well and independent as they can.
“Anyone can refer to the Older People’s Short Term Assessment Team which accepts self-referrals, referrals from carers, relatives or friends and health professionals.”
To access the Older People’s Short Term Assessment Team, which went live on Tuesday January 4, 2022, ring (028) 9598 8098 and select one of the following options:
Down - select option 2 and then option 1
Lisburn – select option 2 and then option 2
North Down & Ards – select option 2 amd then option 3