Spotlight on the Dementia Support Team
Our Dementia Support Team are contacted by ward staff from across the hospital when they have a patient with dementia who they think needs extra support.
Set up in 2014, the team remains a vital service for patients living with dementia. It is made up of a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Dementia Support Workers (DSW) and is headed up by Liz Yaxley, Dementia Services Manager. Their main role is to provide one-to-one interaction with inpatients who are living with dementia.
The age range of patients and their needs range significantly. When the DSWs first meet a patient, they complete the ‘This Is Me’ booklet, which helps them to gather all the information about the person, their likes and dislikes and their background.
“The This Is Me booklet is absolutely crucial to providing person-centred care” said Jenny Woolgrove, Dementia Care Specialist Nurse. “No two patients are the same, and a Dementia Support Worker may spend some time with one patient doing puzzles, if that’s what they enjoy, and then they may see another patient who will benefit from looking at photographs which are significant to them and having a meaningful conversation about it.”
The nurse in the team will complete dementia care needs assessments and develop care plans, to help support the ward teams to provide person-centred care.
Jenny added: “The activity or interaction we carry out is always person-centred and aims to keep the patient cognitively stimulated and calm. It’s about empowering them and hopefully making them more engaged with the other clinical teams.”
It’s a hugely challenging and busy role with more patients living with dementia coming into hospital under different specialties. Each morning the team checks their case load to see which patients they need to see first and if they have any new referrals. The team are also on hand to give relatives and carers advice, answer their questions and signpost them to further support available in the community.
Jenny added: “I absolutely love my job and I think it’s because the team is absolutely fantastic. It’s full of empathetic, kind people who genuinely want to make a difference to people with dementia. And everyone is so supportive in the team. Everyone’s really encouraging of each other. It’s a pleasure to work with people when it’s like that.”
If you would like to find out more about the Dementia Support Team, please join us at the NNUH Dementia Fayre on 15 May from 10am – 3pm in the East Atrium, level 1.