Background Dementia Friends is a very successful and influential social campaign. The University of Manchester, Greene King and EasyJet have all supported this initiative. The first annual report on The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia DH (May 2013) cites the formal launch of the Dementia Friends initiative (February 2013) with the stated aim of there being 1 million Dementia Friends by March 2015, this target was recently achieved. The Dementia Friends programme aims to increase awareness and understanding of dementia. Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group Intentions (2014) has identified dementia care as a priority in the CCG’s plans for 2015–16 with several significant initiatives
Aim We saw an opportunity as a hospice to be part ofa national initiative which helps address a local healthcare priority and would increase numbers of the general public crossing our threshold.
Approach used Three members of the education team, a volunteer and Vice President all committed to the Dementia Friends mission, trained to become Dementia Friends Champions and started to deliver sessions both to staff and the general public. The project has the firm backing of our Hospice Board.
Outcomes We have now delivered 44 sessions. We have not kept formal records of attendance as per Alzheimer’s Society data protection guidance but would envisage that we have had over 600 attendees with at least 250 members of the public attending.
Conclusions We have helped to break down several taboos: You can live well with dementia with support and understanding, hospices are not just about cancer and it is safe for members of the public to step over the threshold.
Application to hospice practice Help the Hospices (2013) set out some priorities, engaging more with the community and being at the heart of community are one: this project has helped achieved this.
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