There is a well-documented pressing need to improve care within settings where people with dementia are living. Providing good quality end of life care, especially for people with dementia in care homes, can prove particularly challenging. This includes enabling people to die in their own home rather than in acute hospitals, which is still the experience of many.
The Care Improvement and End of Life service is a collaboration between St Giles Hospice, Pathways4Life and Walsall CCG. It was created in response to the challenge of people with dementia dying in hospital. The aim of the service is to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions for people with dementia who are living in care settings in Walsall.
The core service consists of community-based Dementia Support Workers (DSWs) who work with care homes in order to provide expertise, insight and knowledge to further improve dementia and end of life care. The service also runs a monthly Carers Course to provide support and education for family carers. The DSWs strive to empower care home staff, people with dementia and their families through development sessions, support and guidance, along with a strong partnership working ethic.
The DSWs use a range of evidence-based tools, including the ‘Namaste Care’ approach, to advance a more holistic approach to dementia and care. This involves helping to create safe and relaxing spaces, and providing a broad spectrum of meaningful person-centred activities, some suitable for using with individuals even at the very end stages of their lives.
The service has improved understanding of dementia for staff in care homes and has improved confidence and well-being for family carers. The service was previously a finalist in the National Dementia Care awards in 2017 and in 2018 won an award for Best Innovation under the Accord Great People Awards.
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