Help for those suffering with Dementia

  • A pressing problem for local authorities and new clinical commissioning groups is how to provide care for people in their area who are diagnosed with dementia.

    Dudley Metropolitan borough council have developed a new Dementia Gateway Service which has been in operation since November 2011 and aims to integrate early diagnosis and medical intervention for people with dementia and provide social care to enable the person to keep their independence.

    The Gateway Service is based on a multidisciplinary team approach which involves initial assessments by dementia nurses, input from old age psychiatrists, mental health specialist and dementia advisers.

    The Guardian quotes assistant director of quality and commissioning at DMBC, Matt Bowsher, saying  "We wanted to develop a person-centred approach to dementia care based on listening to our clients and responding to their needs, and to help people avoid having premature links with 'serviceland' for as long as possible. We needed to adapt services to the needs of clients and their families rather than have a rigid system which delivered the same service to all clients."

    "We now support high numbers of people, including some of working age, to live well with dementia at home by providing information and advice and making links to universal services so that people can still pursue their personal interests and hobbies through our adult community enablement team," says Bowsher.

    The gateway offers therapeutic and creative activities to clients and short and long-term respite to carers, as well as interventions to people living with dementia. Working in an integrated way, the council ensures that adult social commissioners and the CCG commissioners services are co-ordinated.

    "We originally had only one dementia nurse specialist, but we now have three," says Annette Darby, dementia services manager at DMBC. "There are now three ways that clients can be progressed through the system: through GP referral to our nurse specialists, through community mental health nurses and through social workers. Our dementia advisors are also being trained to undertake the assessment of need - technically known as an MAF1/MAF2/Support Plan - to deal with presenting issues."

    There are also three dementia centre ran by the service which provide a focal point for treatment and support for clients and their families.  The service has gained national recognition and received praise from health minister Norman Lamb.

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