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Improvements for dementia services in Bristol
Release date: Tue, 22/05/2012
National Dementia Awareness Week is being marked in Bristol with a range of improvements planned for dementia care services by the NHS and the City Council.
Changes include a new home based 'reablement' service to be launched in September, more funding for carers' breaks and expansion of memory cafes.
The Alzheimer’s Society will launch a new sports and social club at Hengrove Leisure Centre this Thursday morning for people with dementia and their carers. Activities will range from table tennis and badminton to table top activities such as dominoes. As well as providing activities the club will enable carers to talk and support each other.
NHS Bristol Chief Executive Deborah Evans said: “Dementia is an increasing challenge both for us locally and nationally. We have drawn up a local dementia strategy in partnership with Bristol City Council and we are very pleased to see a growing number clubs and events for people with dementia such as memory cafes and singing for the brain - run by the Alzheimer’s Society.
“In Bristol there is also a great range of work going on from the moment a patient is suspected of having dementia - for instance we are looking at the way patients are seen by GPs. NHS Bristol has employed a lead GP to promote good practice in dementia among Bristol GPs. There is a GP training programme and a focus on encouraging hospitals and community staff to screen patients routinely for dementia and to improve diagnosis.
“We are also concentrating on support for carers as they are so important in the role of looking after loved-ones. The NHS and the city council are funding breaks and activities for carers so that they can they can get away and get refreshed.”
Cllr Glenise Morgan, Cabinet Member for Care and Health at Bristol City Council said: “Dementia awareness is rightly at the top of the agenda for everyone involved in care and health. We are determined to work with colleagues in NHS Bristol to ensure our services offer the best possible care for residents with dementia, their families and carers.
“One way we can do this is through our new home based dementia service that will be launched this September to help people stay at home and provide a rapid assessment of their needs. A unique feature of the service will be to work alongside and support existing home care agencies who are already involved, in order to prevent a breakdown of care arrangements and help provide continuity.
“We are also keen to promote and roll out the Dementia Quality Mark in care homes across the city. I feel it is essential to ensure a quality assurance system is in place that people feel they can trust for all care services we are supporting, but especially dementia where people are so vulnerable."
Dr Peter Brindle, GP lead for dementia services in Bristol said: "General practice is the cornerstone of most people's medical care. This initiative will ensure that GPs and their community teams have the skills, knowledge and resources so that their patients have an appropriate diagnosis followed by ongoing access to the coordinated and relevant care that they need."
Improvements in dementia services include:
· Carers Breaks - NHS Bristol have secured a significant amount of funding to deliver breaks for carers in the Bristol area. The service will be jointly commissioned by NHS Bristol and Bristol City Council. To support this work we will be working with the Carers Support Centre to have carers support workers based within the local hospitals and within GP practices.
· Memory Cafes - these are informal groups for people with Dementia and their carers, which meet monthly in different venues across Bristol and South Gloucestershire and are run by the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK. Some additional funding is being made available over the next 2 years to expand the number and frequency of Memory Cafes to improve availability and spread across the area.
· New home based ‘reablement’ service - Bristol City Council is starting a new service in September 2012 to help people stay at home for longer, where this is appropriate, and to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital or care homes.
· Rolling out the Dementia Quality Mark in care homes - Bristol has been part of a pilot scheme that ran in 5 areas of the south west during 2011 to improve standards of care for people with dementia in care homes. The pilot has been successful and will now be developed further as part of the quality assurance system that Bristol City Council uses in conjunction with health services in the city. The scheme requires care homes to demonstrate how they make their services appropriate for people with dementia and how they train their staff. If successful the home is awarded the Dementia Quality Mark, which will be reviewed annually to ensure standards continue to improve.
· Improving Dementia support in Primary Care - NHS Bristol has employed a lead GP to promote good practice in dementia among Bristol GPs. There is a GP training programme and a focus on encouraging GPs to screen patients routinely for dementia and to improve diagnosis. There will be a new 2-year Dementia Development project in 2012 to improve the consistency of services across Bristol. During 2012 we will identify gaps in current services available to support people living at home with dementia and develop plans to address these gaps.
· Improving Hospital standards - the two hospital Trusts in Bristol have been working together for the past year to look at improving standards in Bristol’s hospitals for people with dementia in line with guidance being used across the south west. There was a review of this work in February and a number of improvements were put in place, including the introduction of ‘dementia champions’ in all departments, training for all staff in dementia awareness and protected mealtimes on wards.
· Training - we recognise that ensuring high quality care and support for people with dementia means staff in many settings will require training. We are therefore developing a strategy to improve training of all workers across health and social care in both public and independent organisations.
Anyone wanting more information about any of these services can speak with their GP, or follow up with the following organisations:
Alzheimer’s Society helpline on 0845 300 0336
The City Council is also currently consulting on detailed options for the future of day care and residential services in the city, including dementia services. The consultation runs until 25 June - please see www.citizenspace.com/bristol or http://askbristoldebates.com/ to join the discussion.