Dementia affects more and more of us in today’s world, whether directly or indirectly. The Alzheimer’s Society report there are currently 800,000 people with dementia and predicts that figure will rise to more than a million by 2021.
This is putting new pressure on NHS organisations, they need to learn and adapt in order to care for an increasingly older population with severe memory problems.
Elaine Williams, LiA lead at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust says, "We have a lot of experience in caring for people with dementia, but it is Listening into Action that is enabling us to deliver really excellent patient care in this area"
Using the LiA approach, staff have been pooling the knowledge they have from daily patient contact to develop services for patients living with dementia. Since they started working 'the LiA way' in 2012, several pioneer teams have paved the way forward:
- The Memory Clinic teams in Wokingham and Bracknell used LiA to prepare their services for accreditation by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Wokingham Memory Clinic has been given an outstanding achievement award for meeting 100 per cent of the standards and the Bracknell clinic also gained accreditation. The four remaining Memory Clinics are now using the model put together by these two teams to prepare their services for accreditation too
- An LiA pioneer team working on the Oakwood Unit rehab ward set out to improve the ward environment, making small but significant changes. Their work accelerated following their initial 20 week journey. Enthused by the difference LiA can make, they joined with another team to win a bid for dementia funds from the Department of Health. This has helped turn the ward into a dementia-friendly space to meet the needs of many older people with severe memory problems who need physical rehabilitation
- This integrated approach to physical and mental health care has been adopted by another LiA team from Jubilee Ward. They have used the opportunity that LiA has given them to strengthen work with their mental health colleagues so that they feel more confident when caring for older people with memory problems
Elaine says, “This shows the power of what can be achieved when you give staff permission and power to make the changes they can see need to happen.”