Mental health for older people

The Trust’s mental health services for older people include:

  • three mental health inpatient wards – for patients experiencing difficulties such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders and psychosis
  • three inpatient wards for patients with dementia
  • community services providing everything from day therapies to dementia outreach

An older man drinking a mug of teaMental health inpatient services

Our older people’s mental health wards are based at Highbury Hospital in Nottingham, Millbrook Mental Health Unit at King’s Mill Hospital, and Bassetlaw Hospital. These services aim to support patients to return to an active, independent life in the community.

These services have a multidisciplinary team approach, which includes psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other specialised allied health professionals.

As well as the management of complex mental health needs, our clinicians also need to manage physical health needs. They work alongside the Physical Healthcare Matron to carry out a holistic care plan to treat physical health difficulties.

Inpatient areas in this directorate are a challenging and rewarding environment to work in, offering clinicians the opportunity to develop many skills which may not be readily available in other areas. 

Dementia inpatient services

We provide a range of services for people with dementia, including three inpatient wards:

  • Amber Ward at Millbrook Mental Health Unit at King’s Mill Hospital
  • Silver Birch Ward at Highbury Hospital 
  • Blyth Ward at Bassetlaw Hospital

Each ward specialises in the assessment and treatment of people with challenging behaviours and who have an organic diagnosis. The wards are normally for people over 65, but are also accessible to people with a diagnosis of working age dementia. 

All areas provide a comprehensive assessment of needs and use a person centred and holistic approach to recovery. We focus on the person and not the illness.

A man talking to a member of staff On admission, patients, their carers and family are encouraged to contribute as much as possible to shape their care and take an active role in therapeutic programmes.

We want the best clinicians who are committed to providing high quality compassionate care. Clinicians who are active listeners, have empathy and who want to provide the right environment for people with dementia – one that improve outcomes for the patient, their carers and families.

Community services

Intensive Recovery Intervention Service (IRIS)

IRIS is a specialist multi-disciplinary service. It works with people over the age of 65 with a functional mental health problem and people of any age with a diagnosis of dementia. It offers a maximum 12 week assessment and at home support package to people with moderate to severe mental health problems. It aims to prevent avoidable admissions to hospital, short or long term care and to help facilitate early discharge from hospital.

Rapid Response Liaison Psychiatry (RRLP)

This service works closely with hospitals to reduce the number of inappropriate admissions. For those who are admitted, the highly skilled team reduce the length of stay and improve health outcomes through timely assessments and interventions.

Day Therapies

The Day Therapies Service provides a range of treatments including: cognitive stimulation therapy, maintenance CST, cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and a recovery model focused group.

Community Mental Health Teams

These services are for people over the age of 65 with functional mental health difficulties, and for people of any age with organic mental health difficulties.

Services are provided on the community by a range of staff including community psychiatric nurses, consultant psychiatrists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

Memory Assessment Services

Our Memory Assessment Services provide an integrated, person centred assessment, treatment and information service to people with dementia.

Two women laughing with each other Working Age Dementia Service

This service is for people under the age of 65 who have a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of dementia. We provide diagnostic services for the whole of Nottinghamshire. The service’s aim is to help people to remain active and well in community.

Dementia Outreach Services (residential and nursing homes)

Our Dementia Outreach Services work with community mental health teams across the County. They provide skilled, specialist staff support older people with dementia - and their carers - in residential or nursing homes during times of crisis or difficulty.

What's it like to work in mental health for older people?

We asked some of our staff to tell us what it's like working in mental health for older people:

"We are all living longer which means the patients we now admit have not only mental health needs, but often a range of long term physical health needs. This means our staff need to be highly specialised, with a range of skills to treat our patients holistically.

"To help meet these challenges, we are investing in our staff and also developing a range of new roles to meet the needs of our patients. This is an exciting time for older people’s services, with new roles, new skills and the enthusiasm to ensure our service meets the highest quality."

John Davies – Inpatient Service Manager


"Since working in this area I have progressed immensely. I have been with the team for five years and I could not imagine myself working with any other team. I have met some truly inspirational older people who have overcome hard times. I find it very rewarding caring for older people in their darkest days and seeing the positive outcome. I have also worked alongside some amazing hard working staff."

Nikki Looms – Trainee Nursing Associate Cherry Ward


"When I leave work at the end of a shift, I know I’ve helped make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Seeing this positive impact makes me look forward to work."

Vicky Lessig – Healthcare Assistant Silver Birch


“To say I’m proud to work as part of the nursing team in MHSOP is an understatement. Throughout my preceptorship I have been supported by all of the nursing team, including the matron and service lead. This has continued throughout my training and I feel as though I can liaise with management comfortably.

"I love working with my patients and it is very humbling, particularly talking with patients about their experiences during WW2. Above all I fell respected and valued, by both patients and staff at all levels. This allows me to be the best nurse I can be.”

Pete Ansell – Staff Nurse Kingsley Ward


“The patients appreciate your time and often compliment and thank you. I enjoy the variety as no day is the same and no two patients’ needs are the same. It is very rewarding to see the result of excellent patient care and the effect this has on patients and their relatives."

Ava-Gail Manradge - Interim Team Leader Rushcliffe Community Mental Health Team