STRUCTURE: The Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust has opened a £1m medical unit dedicated to patients with dementia.

Situated alongside the clinical assessment unit at Rochdale Infirmary, the trust claims it is the first of its kind in England in a hospital setting.

The Oasis Unit is a five-bed facility for the assessment and diagnosis of patients with dementia and confusion arriving with acute medical conditions via the assessment unit, the urgent care centre or through direct GP referral.

Patients will be cared for in a specially designed “dementia friendly environment”, and the unit is supported by enhanced nurse staffing ratios and specialist mental health nurses.

Patients’ length of stay will be between five and seven days, depending on their individual needs. This is much longer than the 48-hour discharge target for Rochdale Infirmary’s Clinical Assessment Unit.

The unit is funded by Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, and staffed by a multidisciplinary team of medical staff from Pennine Acute Hospitals, Pennine Care Foundation Trust and social workers from Rochdale Council.

Dr Shona McCallum, the consultant and clinical lead at Rochdale Infirmary, who is leading the Oasis Unit, said it united “a wide range of agencies and professionals, including input from what are seen traditionally as non-medical or nursing teams

“I believe that the Oasis is the start of a change in how we as the NHS, working in partnership with the community deliver care to this group, a change we can build upon in the future.