Enhancing care for patients with dementia

BASILDON University Hospital has been praised by the Royal College of Nursing for new measures to help patients with dementia return home sooner with the right support.

The Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST), which is funded by NHS South Essex Cluster, consists of specially trained nurses employed by South Essex Partnership Trust (SEPT) and North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT). The team are working in A&E providing specialist dementia health care. They may refer patients to the memory service and offer support to carers.

Diane Sarkar, Director of Nursing, with dementia nursing staff

DIST is one of the measures Basildon University Hospital has put in place, as an increasingly ageing population brings a rise in the number of inpatients with dementia. The Trust’s dementia strategy was officially launched today (Tuesday 22 May) to mark National Dementia Week (20-26 May), with each ward receiving a pack outlining the Trust’s strategy, policies and care pathways.

The strategy aims to provide better care for our patients with dementia. This includes appointing a lead consultant geriatrician, Dr Stephen Waters and a dementia nurse, Darlene Erbynn (employed by SEPT), responsible for ensuring patients get the right care and referrals and hospital staff get support.

Karen Fashanu, Lead Nurse for Medicine for Older People, said: “Coming into hospital is often a stressful and confusing time for most, let alone those patients with diagnosed or suspected dementia. Everything we have been doing is aimed at preventing admissions, or if they are admitted ensuring their experience is as good it can be. Ward staff have been involved in developing the strategy to care for dementia patients.”

Mark Tebbs, Associate Director for Mental Health and Vulnerable Adults at NHS South Essex, said: “We are delighted that the Dementia Intensive Support Team, funded by NHS South Essex,
has been identified by the Royal College of Nursing as a best practice example of effective partnership working. “

“The team consists of specialist nurses, social workers, support workers and occupational therapists who work together so that people with dementia can avoid hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. They identify these patients early, give them a package of care in the community and support their carers so they can stay at home.

“In cases where patients with dementia need to stay in hospital, the team works with hospital staff, the patients and their carers to help them return home, with support, where they will feel safer and happier.”
We could not have delivered these improvements without all partners working together.”

The Royal College of Nursing has highlighted the Trust as an example of best practice. Click on this link to read more: http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/practice/dementia/best_practice_examples/diane_sarker

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