Introduction Dementia is a life-limiting illness that is currently our biggest public health challenge. Despite being the leading cause of death in 2016 (Office for National Statistics, 2017), people living with dementia remain disadvantaged in terms of access to palliative and end of life care (Care Quality Commission, 2016). Hospices have the expertise to play a crucial role in driving improvements, but this challenge cannot be faced alone; what has been called for is ‘hospice enabled dementia care’ (Hospice UK, 2015) based on strong partnership working.
Background In 2017, a 14 bedded acute NHS mental health inpatient unit for people with dementia needed a temporary home while its own accommodation was being refurbished. It was agreed that this would be provided in an unoccupied wing of the local independent hospice. Our presentation is the story of this project and how the two services seized the chance to make the most of this unique opportunity of mental health and specialist palliative care services to share skills and expertise and work towards developing sustainable collaborative relationships.
Project description The presentation will take the audience on a journey beginning by introducing both services and the challenges that they each faced alone in providing end of life care for people with dementia. Then we will share reflections on the steps we undertook to develop relationships and share skills such as our programme of joint lunch and learn events and a buddy system. We talk about how strong relationships were formed based on shared values and passion for high quality person-centred care. We reflect on our experience of providing hospice-enabled dementia care by working creatively together, illustrated through case vignettes. Finally, we will share our evaluations and recommendations for others looking to improve end of life care for people with dementia.
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