The Early Intervention programme has broken down traditional organisational boundaries, across Birmingham’s health and social care, ensuring that a person receives the right care at the right time in the right place.  We share Anna’s story to show the difference this makes.  It involves teams from Norman Power, OPAL and Birmingham’s Community Mental Health Team.

Anna is an 85-year-old lady who was recuperating at Norman Power (NP) after being transferred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she had been admitted following a fall.

Anna has dementia and as well as supporting her with rehabilitation care, the NP team was also helping her and her family to put a long-term residential care plan in place for her ongoing care.

One morning, Anna became agitated and aggressive to the extent that she became a danger to herself, staff and other inpatients.  The NP team contacted Dr Abi Gupta, Lead Consultant for Norman Power, as well as a consultant in the OPAL (QE) team and Lead for OPAL+, for an urgent assessment.

As per the OPAL+ approach, Dr Gupta held a virtual consultation with Anna and the team that morning.  They determined that her behavioural and psychological symptoms all related to the dementia and urgent intervention was essential.

Rather than admit Anna to hospital, the team contacted the Birmingham & Solihull Community Mental Health Team who visited Anna that same day.  Although the team had managed to calm Anna verbally, after assessing her again, the mental health team prescribed new medication which would support her going forward.

It was late in the day at this stage but OPAL+ has the facility to prescribe and deliver medication out of hours. Anna was able to take her first dose of the new medication that evening and her behaviour quickly stabilised.

Dr Gupta said: “This is a perfect example of colleagues working together across different organisations to ensure that Anna received the care she needed at the right time and in the right place.

“Prior to the Early Intervention approach, Anna would most probably have been taken to the Emergency Department, waited for several hours to be seen and most probably admitted until she had been stabilised and assessed.

“Instead, the three teams were able to get her calm and comfortable very quickly without exacerbating her aggression and anxiety and enabling her to stay in familiar surroundings where she felt safe and comfortable. The partnership of different teams across these three organisations was vital to the impact it made on Anna’s care. If she were a member of my family or a friend, I wouldn’t want any other approach.”