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Service which improves care for people with dementia gains national praise

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014
Service which improves care for people with dementia gains national praise

Community nurses who help deliver specialist care to people in North Tyneside who are suffering from dementia are in the running for two national awards.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist behaviour support service and nursing and residential home team have been shortlisted in two categories of the Nursing Times Awards – nursing in the community and enhancing patient dignity.

The Northumbria NHS teams support staff in care homes 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 home staff to try to understand the behaviours from the point of view of the person with dementia and work with them to identify the factors which trigger the behaviour.

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

Dementia affects 800,000 people living in the UK. Dementia is most common in older people and 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 two nominations.

“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 – they feel heard and have their needs met in a very carefully considered way.

“While we may be unable to always ask people 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 in. I am proud to be part of this service.”

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

The Nursing Times Awards celebrate nurses’ contributions to improve care for patients. The winners will be announced on 30 October.