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Mental Health Concern

Alderwood: Respite and Assessment

What we do and how we help

At Alderwood: Respite and Assessment we provide two services for people with dementia and their families in Gateshead.


We know that caring for someone with dementia can sometimes be very demanding and tiring; it’s a 24-hour job. Everyone deserves a rest from time to time, and people who care for someone with dementia certainly do.

We offer flexible packages of respite care so that people who care for someone with dementia can rest and relax, knowing that their loved one is being well looked after. We also work closely with our Community Challenging Behaviour Service to support families and carers in their own homes.

We provide respite packages for people who have quite complex or challenging needs, and we also offer considerable flexibility in terms of regular weekly support, or support for longer periods such as when families want to go on holiday for a week or two.


Sometimes families or professionals need advice or another opinion on how to best meet the needs of someone with dementia who requires healthcare support. Frequently this kind of assessment can only be done in hospital, but our assessment service offers an alternative, community-based setting.

This can be useful for people who don’t need to be in hospital, or who are being treated under the Mental Health Act, but require specialist mental health assessment in a 24-hour ‘in-patient’ nursing setting.

Usually people stay for an assessment period of up to 12 weeks. It is our aim that during this period that we work with the family, and other care agencies involved, to develop a plan which will hopefully enable the person to return home, or to their current care home.

What are the facilities like?

We are based in Bensham in Gateshead, within easy reach of public transport links and amenities. We have space for up to 10 people and our building is well-equipped to meet the healthcare needs of the people we care for. We work hard to keep things as homely and relaxed as possible; there are a number of separate lounge and dining areas, fully-assisted baths and wet rooms, and a fully-equipped coffee bar and games room.

We are careful about how we furnish and decorate the service, to get the right balance between being safe, secure, and easy to find your way around, as well as being a pleasant and relaxing place to be.

Who are the team?

Our team of mental health nurses and support workers are specialists in dementia care and passionate about what they do. We specifically select our staff not just for their skills, but for their personal qualities such as warmth, optimism, and a natural desire to help others.

Between us, we have decades’ worth of experience and knowledge in assessing and meeting the needs of people with dementia.

How do I refer someone to this service?

We accept referrals from any professional involved in the care of the person with dementia, such as psychiatrists, CPNs, GPs, or social workers.  Referrals can be made by phone but must be followed up in writing.

Respite referrals

On receipt of a referral, we will make contact with the carer within 72 hours to arrange a suitable time to visit and complete an initial assessment. On completion of the assessment, we will discuss available packages with you and arrange a visit to the respite unit. During this visit, the first overnight respite will be confirmed.

Assessment referrals

Once we receive a referral, we will make contact within 72 hours to arrange a suitable time to visit and complete the initial assessment. Once the assessment is completed, and if deemed appropriate, transfer to the assessment unit will take place within 24 hours.

Emergency referrals

Emergency referrals can be made by phone but must be followed up in writing. All emergency referrals will be responded to within 24 hours.

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