This study examined the nature, extent and perceived quality of the support provided by community mental health teams for older people (CMHTsOP) to care home residents.
A postal survey was sent to all CMHTsOP in England. Information was collected about teams’ staffing and their involvement in case finding, assessment, medication reviews, care planning and training as well as team managers’ rating of the perceived quality of the service they provided for care home residents. Data were analysed using chi-square tests of association and ordinal regression.
Responses were received from 225 (54%) CMHTsOP. Only 18 per cent of these teams contained staff with allocated time for care home work. Services for care home residents varied considerably between teams. Two-fifths of teams provided formal training to care home staff. Team managers were more likely to perceive the quality of their service to care homes as good if they had a systematic process in place for reviewing antipsychotic drugs or routine mental health reviews, including contact with a GP.
The findings suggested that more evidence is needed on the best approach for supporting care home residents with mental health needs. Areas to consider are the potential benefits of training to care home staff and regular mental health reviews, utilising links between GPs and CMHTsOP.