In June 2015 a partnership was formed in a health economy in the West Midlands between a hospice, CCG, council and a housing, health and social care organisation with the aim being to improve dementia and end-of-life care in care homes for a 12-month pilot. The hospice and housing provider each provided a dementia support worker (DSW) with the focus of their roles being to help support, educate and signpost care homes within the borough to improve quality of life for people living with dementia.
The uniqueness of this pilot project has been the joint leadership and management between the two providers commissioned. Both have combined their knowledge and expertise to provide a seamless service to people living with dementia in care homes.
Within the initial 12 month pilot the DSWs have managed to make vast improvements. Within the first 12 months they have supported 33 out of 56 care homes providing individualised, bespoke support, training and advice to each home. They have also enabled 11 care homes to be part of the Activity Coordinator Forum, created by the DSW service; 8 care homes are now implementing elements of the Namaste Care Programme; three care homes have implemented Advance Care Plans as a result of the service and seven care homes have implemented the use of Pain Scales as a result of the service.
In addition to this there have been awards presented by the mayoress to celebrate four homes’ engagement with the dementia support workers and also they have arranged for a dementia steering group to be formed that covers all professions and settings in the borough to ensure dementia patients get the same level of care, regardless of setting. It has been so successful it has been commissioned for a further 12 months with the focus being on improving dementia and end of life in the community.
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