Improving local dementia care through partnership working

The number of people living with dementia in Gloucestershire is thought to be approximately 9,000.
GPs and other professionals are taking positive steps to improve dementia care and support, with over 68% of people now being diagnosed compared to 32% just six years ago.

The care and support provided locally is set to improve still further, with developments including:
• A pilot project for Community Dementia Nurses (CDNs) to coordinate annual reviews and provide support to all people living with dementia in a cluster of GP surgeries in Stroud and Berkeley Vale. This will ensure the most suitable professional undertakes the annual review and should reduce duplication between healthcare staff in the area. It will have the added benefit of making things less complex for patients and carers. Streamlining the process should also free up more time for professionals to focus on increasing the care and support to people living with dementia in their own homes, helping them to avoid hospital admission.
• Improved processes for discharging people with dementia from hospitals so that they return home more quickly and that the person and their carers are supported to reduce the likelihood of future admissions.
• The development of a range of easily understandable information for patients and carers, to help them understand the full range of support available and where and when to seek help.
• Increased training to care homes, enabling them to care for people living with dementia for longer and avoid unnecessary admission to hospital.
• Better diagnosis and support for people from minority groups.

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Martin Ansell, of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Our Gloucestershire Dementia Strategy is well established and, as a group of agencies, we are making great strides towards improving the care, support and treatment we provide for those people with dementia in the county.

As part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, we are now able to build on our strategy still further to look at what we do as individual agencies and what we do together, and how we can reduce duplication and improve coordination.

Almost all of us are now impacted on by dementia in some way – as a patient, carer, family member, professional or friend. Now is a great time to look at the processes and systems we have in place and make things even better for those affected by the condition.”

Dr Hein Le Roux, Clinical Lead for Dementia at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Dementia can be difficult to diagnose, especially when symptoms are mild. However, reaching a timely diagnosis can make a huge difference in helping someone stay independent and in their own home for as long as possible. It gives people, and their families, the best chance to prepare and plan for the future and receive any treatment that may be possible.
Raising awareness, improving understanding of dementia and working with partners to ensure seamless support is provided to people with dementia are key priorities for the CCG and its member practices.”

Cllr Dorcas Binns, Lead Cabinet Member for older people at Gloucestershire County Council said:

“We know that people who have dementia are often admitted to hospital unnecessarily and their health declines in unfamiliar surroundings; we want to avoid that wherever possible.

The county council has dedicated funding to make sure people with dementia are only admitted to hospital when they really need it, to avoid causing unnecessary distress.

When people with dementia are in hospital, it’s harder to assess their ongoing care needs due to the upset caused by an unknown environment. As a result, they may not get the most appropriate help. The council is committed to improving the help we give to people with dementia and their carers.”

To read more about the STP and find out about how you can get involved, visit the STP website at: www.gloucestershireSTP.net