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Dementia nursing team wins national award

Friday, 04 July, 2014
Dementia nursing team wins national award

Community nurses who help deliver specialist care to people in North Tyneside have won a prestigious national nursing award.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist behaviour support service and nursing and residential home team have triumphed at the Nursing Times Awards 2013, winning the ‘nursing in the community’ award for work supporting people living with dementia.

The dedicated teams from Northumbria Healthcare support staff in care and residential homes across the borough to care for people with dementia who display behaviour that could be perceived as “challenging” and causing them, or those caring for them, distress.

The nurses work in partnership with care and residential home staff to try to understand the behaviours from the point of view of the person with dementia and work with staff and families to identify the factors which trigger the behaviour.

The aim of the service is to prevent people living with dementia from being admitted to hospital and being moved unnecessarily from their familiar surroundings which can cause further distress.

Dementia affects around 800,000 people living in the UK and is most common in older people. It is estimated that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia.

Aileen Beatty, clinical lead for the service at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted that our collaborative approach, which has only been in operation for less than 18 months, has been recognised on a national stage with such a high profile nursing award.

“Dementia touches the lives of so many people and as a trust we are committed to improving the care of our vulnerable elderly patients whether they are in hospital, in the community or at home.

“Our service puts the person with dementia at the centre of their care and we work proactively with staff in all care settings to make sure patients feel heard and have their needs met in a very carefully considered way.

“While we may be unable to always ask people with dementia what is upsetting them or what we can do to make them feel better, our personalised one-to-one approach provides us with the best possible understanding of what is causing them distress.

“I have been working with people with dementia for almost 30 years and this is the most effective and rewarding way of working with some of the most complex patients that I have ever been involved with. I am very proud to be part of this service and delighted for the teams that we have won this award.”

The teams also aim to avoid the use of medication where possible and focuses on education and maximising the potential for people with dementia to lead a fulfilling life.

The Nursing Times Awards are the most prestigious and coveted awards for the nursing profession, bringing together to celebrate the very best of the NHS.