Elderly Care Services in Dorset

Elderly Care Services in Dorset

This section will guide you round the elderly care and health services available in Dorset.

It signposts to key resources provided by the NHS and the two unitary local authorities (Dorset Council and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council) as well as how to find and decide on local care services provided by both the local authority and private providers.

There are some 193,000 people over the age of 65 in Dorset as a whole and projected growth shows that the over 65 population will grow by nearly 50% over the next 25 years.

Here you can find information on

NHS Services for the Elderly in Dorset

There are 81 GP practices in Dorset, all of which are organised by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in geographical groups called Localities.  The CCG is responsible for commissioning all health services in the county.   You can find information about individual GP surgeries on their website here.

All GP surgeries have their own website which contain lots of useful advice and help about their services or support you can access through the surgery for elderly parents or relatives.  An introductory guide to services you might expect via the GP can be found here.

NHS continuing healthcare is a package of ongoing care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS where the individual has been found to have a ‘primary health need’. You can find information on how and where to apply in Dorset here.

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust provides a comprehensive range of healthcare services, including community and mental health services across the county.

Twelve community hospitals offer services including elderly care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient appointments, theatre, therapy services, and minor injury services.  Information about their services including locations is here.

A Carer’s Passport scheme is run at all of the community hospitals. Under the system, you can identify yourself on arrival and request a badge, or ‘passport’, which allows you to stay beyond regular visiting hours – providing reassurance and additional help for the person you are caring for. Download a leaflet about the scheme here.

A wide range of specialist NHS Community Services for physical health conditions exist in Dorset. You can find out more here

Information on mental health NHS services in Dorset, including dementia and the Memory Assessment Services can be found here

Major hospitals in Dorset

Poole Hospital is an acute general hospital based on the south coast of England. The hospital has a 24-hour major accident and emergency department and is the designated trauma unit for east Dorset, serving a population of around 500,000 people. 

In addition, the hospital’s flagship Dorset Cancer Centre provides medical and clinical oncology services for the whole of Dorset, serving a total population of over 750,000. Forest Holme, the palliative care unit, is located a short walk from the main hospital.

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital is an acute general hospital managed by the Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It has a 24-hour accident and emergency department and provides district-wide services for vascular surgery and urology. Outpatient clinics are provided for oral surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, cardiothoracic and neurology. It is also the home to a diabetic unit called BDEC, which treats and educates local patients diagnosed with the disease.

Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester covers the west and northern areas of the county. It is a district general hospital managed by Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

NHS Choices is the official website of the National Health Service in England. It provides a comprehensive health information service with articles, videos and tools, helping you to make the choices about health and lifestyle.  It has a directory of services to help find, choose and compare health, support and social care services in Dorset.

Local Authority Elderly Care Services in Dorset

Dorset Councils Adult Social Care Services provide a variety of support and services for older adults in the rural Dorset area including befriending, bereavement services, healthcare, housing, carers’ support, transport and more.

Here is a list of the types of service available. You can find a full directory of services on the website here

The new Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council covers adult social care in the rest of the county.

Find adult social care services in Bournemouth here. For Poole, click here and for Christchurch here.

Booking a Care Needs Assessment

A good way to start to arrange more help either at home or in a residential home is by requesting a Care Needs Assessment.

Whether care will be funded by the council or independently, a care assessment will identify the help that is needed – from alterations to the home, additional help during the day or night, or moving to residential care.   The assessment will also identify the needs of carers.  We have useful guidance and links for preparing for an assessment here.

To arrange a Care Needs Assessment in rural Dorset (Dorset Council area) you can check eligibility criteria here and find out who to contact here

In the BCP Council area: In Bournemouth you can find out more here. For Poole click here and for Christchurch click here

Specialist mental health services

There are 13 Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) for older people, based in locations across Dorset.

They have a mix of staff who are specially trained in dealing with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and dementia.

Their aim is to support older people to live safely at home, and prevent unnecessary admissions into hospital.

The CMHTs provide a range of services, including assessments, treatments and home visits, as well as group and individual therapies. They see people in a variety of settings, including hospitals and outpatient clinics, but most often in their own homes.

If you or your loved one would like to see a member of your local CMHT and have not used the service before, speak to your GP or social care worker.

You can see where the teams are based here

This is a great introductory guide to a range of Dementia services in the county – the Dementia Directory.  You can access the Directory online here

Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission is the regulator of all health and care services in the UK.  If you are choosing care, whether services at home, or residential care, it is highly recommended that you read CQC inspection reports and the ratings of services and providers on their website here.  You can search by postcode for care homes and care agencies using their directory.

More Information

Age Space Dorset has lots of resources to help:  you may find these sections helpful:

You might also find information on our main site useful:

You can join our friendly forum here and ask any question you may have.

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Coronavirus Support Group

In light of the current situation with Coronavirus we’ve created a group for people supporting elderly relatives at risk of Coronavirus.

A chance to virtually meet others in the same position, ask questions and share your experience in these strange and uncertain times.

It’s going to be a big team effort to get through this.