The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.

There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. It mainly affects people over the age of 65 (one in 14 people in this age group have dementia), and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, dementia can affect younger people too. There are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia. (Alzheimer’s Society 2017)

Chesterfield Royal Hospital aim to be ‘outstanding’ in all aspects of dementia care and have committed to ongoing improvements as illustrated in our dementia strategy (release date to be confirmed) will be needed our 4 ambitions are as below.

We will continue to improve and monitor existing services and care interventions resulting in a 3 year improvement plan.

To be outstanding and to show excellence in specialist assessment, clinical care, treatment and management planning of people living with Dementia which will be underpinned by a person-centred philosophy.

CRH has an Older Person team who consist of a team of staff nurses who provide assessment of the needs of the older person, education and support for patients, relatives and staff and provide guidance on discharge planning, problem solving and signposting to community services.

The Older Person team also supervise the Enhanced Support team. This team of Health Care Assistants provides enhanced support for patients in our inpatient wards who may need a higher level of observation, support and interaction. Their objective is to provide true person centred care with a focus on activity, stimulation and reminiscence to ensure the patient is safe.

This is done in collaboration with the existing ward teams. 

CRH also work in collaboration with the Mental Health Liaison team, who are based in the Hartington Unit at CRH. The remit of this team is to provide an integrated Liaison Psychiatry service for the adult population (18 years and older) in all ward areas and Emergency Department within the Trust. The service will provide a year round 24/7 proactive supporting service to facilitate the best possible care for patients presenting with mental health or substance misuse issues. The Mental Health Liaison team will respond in a timely manner to patients who present to the Emergency Department ensuring access to mental health guidance and assessment where needed.

Dementia resources are available for Trust staff to loan to enhance skills and knowledge about people living with dementia, as well as activities to share packs to aid a patients stay in hospital: 

CRH to have an outstanding ‘dementia friendly’ culture of care which will be achieved by ensuring that all Trust staff are dementia aware. Specialist staff will lead by example and equip the workforce with the confidence to challenge dementia related stigma, myths and poor practice therefore improving the care and experience at CRH.

All staff receives dementia awareness training on induction and ongoing mandatory yearly training updates this is in alignment with the “dementia friends” initiative.

We also offer ongoing development opportunities to develop skills on our tier 2 dementia courses, both facilitated at CRH- The Best Practice in dementia – Stirling University or Promoting quality care in dementia course.

Positive partnerships in care will continue to be developed which will enable wellbeing, care choices and preferences are understood and followed for people living with dementia and their carers. Views and feedback will be actively sought and acted upon to ensure continuous improvement in the service provision and in alignment with the carer strategy, carers will have their needs assessed alongside those of the patient to ensure they are adequately supported, informed, educated and enabled to continue with their caring role at CRH and post discharge.

The trust has a dementia steering group which focuses on the care CRH delivers and the services we provide to our community, this group is guided by Dementia national guidelines but also by patient and carer experiences, we review the feedback received on a regular basis.

CRH will incorporate dementia friendly principles into all aspects of the hospital environment. These environments of care will enhance the patient experience and ensure that no avoidable harm is caused and we maximise privacy, dignity and independent activities of living.

CRH participate in the Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment audit and follow the best practice guidance from the Kings fund and Stirling university to improve ward and hospital environments ensuring that they have a healing effect on all our patients.

Patients have access to activities and reminiscence equipment as described earlier and we promote the use of “This is me” in all our environments to equip our staff with the important information the person or carer wants to share to enable us to provide person centred care.

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