Dementia Awareness Week takes place in May every year and is run by Alzheimer’s Society - the UK’s leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers. This year Dementia Awareness Week (18-24 May 2014) is all about opening up conversations around dementia.
Marking the week Ashford and St Peter’s will be holding stands in the main reception at both hospital sites with information regarding the Trusts development of its dementia services, as well as dementia specialist staff available to give patients and carers advice and support.
Dementia is a common condition that affects about 800,000 people in the UK. Due to an ageing population the number of people living with dementia is expected to double by 2050. The term ‘dementia’ is an umbrella term used to describe certain diseases which result in an ongoing decline of the brain’s ability to function usually without cure. This includes Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Common symptoms include memory loss, changes in mood, problems with communication and problem solving.
We have been working on various initiatives to improve our dementia services with many more planned for 2014/2015, these include:
- A formal system for gathering information pertinent for a person with dementia and recruited two Specialist Dementia Therapists.
- Rolled out the Butterfly Scheme to improve identification of people with dementia and their needs.
- The Trust increased awareness and training through staff induction and an older person’s study day delivered in collaboration with mental health liaison.
- Funding for a full-time Specialist Dementia Nurse for 2014/15 was secured
- Introducing a Older Persons Assessment Liaison service specifically aimed at the frail elderly which encompasses the early assessment of people with dementia and improved communication with families and carers.
- Refurbishing our older persons ward to ensure the ward is dementia friendly
Ashford and St Peter’s Clinical Nurse Leader – OPAL/ Dementia, Adam Smith said, “Dementia Awareness Week is not only a fantastic opportunity to show case the brilliant work that seeks to improve the experience of those affected by dementia within the hospital, but also to offer patients and relatives a chance to ask questions, seek support and make suggestions about how we can improve our services. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to meet various other organisations that offers services to those that are affected by dementia as well as meeting Ashford and St Peter’s very own experienced dementia specialists. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to be involved in order to raise the awareness and to diminish myths about dementia in Ashford and St Peter’s and the local community.”