New mental health assessment tool being rolled out across Fife

from left: Gillian Grubb, Anne Black, Ian Black and Kerry Lowe. The Holistic Older Adults Assessment Tool (HOAAT) was developed by Senior Charge Nurses Gillian Grubb and Kerry Lowe.
from left: Gillian Grubb, Anne Black, Ian Black and Kerry Lowe. The Holistic Older Adults Assessment Tool (HOAAT) was developed by Senior Charge Nurses Gillian Grubb and Kerry Lowe.

A new mental health assessment tool used to support elderly inpatients in Fife is being introduced across the health board area following a successful pilot.

The Holistic Older Adults Assessment Tool (HOAAT) was developed by senior charge nurses at Stratheden Hospital in Cupar.

It uses a series of questions to evaluate patients’ abilities and create highly personalised care plans. These plans are designed in close partnership with the patient and/or their relatives or carer, empowering the people who know the patient best to help aid their recovery.

The new tool replaces the previously used Simons Assessment which used questions to identify what a patient was unable to do as opposed to what they were able to do themselves.

The tool is used by nurses to benefit all inpatients at Stratheden and Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, predominantly for those diagnosed with dementia, and serves to both reduce the amount of paperwork for staff and increase the amount of time they spend caring for patients.

Feedback from relatives and carers has been extremely positive, with closer involvement in developing care plans mentioned as a particularly welcome addition to their loved ones care.

Kerry Lowe, senior charge nurse, said: “The Holistic Older Adults Assessment Tool works to enable older adults and their families or carers in a way that has not been done before, helping tailor unique care plans that are individual to the patient and placing their ability at its core.

“The Simons Assessment potentially resulted in up to 15 individual care plans being prescribed for a single patient, which made delivering their care perhaps more complex, whilst generating significant paperwork for staff in the process.

“By incorporating various aspects of daily living, this tool can generate just two to three meaningful care pans, which reduces paperwork and, crucially, makes more time available to be spent directly with a patient.”

She added: “The involvement of relatives and carers in the creation of a patient’s care plan is also a key element in its success; the influence of these people cannot be overstated and studies regularly indicate the important role that they play in a patient’s recovery.”

Helen Paterson, nursing director, said: “I am delighted to support Kerry and Gillian’s innovation, and it is particularly encouraging that two of our nurses at the front-line of elderly mental health care have

developed and implemented this improvement.

“NHS Fife as an organisation is constantly open to new innovations and we encourage our staff to tell us where they think things could be done differently. In this instance Kerry and Gillian’s idea was progressed to the benefit of not only patients, but also their colleagues.”