Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:53 GMT on Monday, 19th November 2012.
Lanarkshire Dementia Champions help improve standards of care

NHS LANARKSHIRE now have sixteen members of healthcare staff dedicated to help improve the standards of care of people with dementia.


The members of staff have completed the National Dementia Champions programme and are now helping to support improvements care provided in acute hospitals across Lanarkshire.


NHS Lanarkshire’s ‘Dementia Champions’, who include nursing and occupational therapy staff, have been trained by the University of the West of Scotland and Alzheimer’s Scotland.


The Dementia Champions will play an important role in improving dementia care, within the acute hospitals and will help ensure all older people with a diagnosis of Dementia receive the right care and support when they are in hospital.


Joan James, divisional nurse director for acute care in NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Dementia Champions provide specialist advice to staff on patients who have a diagnosis of Dementia or have cognitive impairment. They can provide support in relation to assessment of needs in relation to eating and drinking, the patient’s environment and identifying whether the patient is in pain.


“Dementia Champions look at the patient as a whole, including their carers and relatives. They know it is important to hear about what the carers can tell them about the patient. This can make the difference to the approach clinical teams take to the care of these vulnerable patients.”


Currently up to one in four of all general hospital beds in the UK are occupied by people over the age of 65 who have symptoms or a diagnosis of Dementia.


Staff were asked to nominate themselves for the course and were selected on who would be best placed to provide support over a wide range of specialties.


Each ward that has a champion has a sign outside which identifies to staff, patients and visitors that there is someone in the ward with specialist expertise in dementia.


The Dementia Champions programme is supported by the establishment of an Alzheimer Scotland Nurse Specialist across all NHS Boards in Scotland. Together, these roles will support NHS Boards to bring about improvements in the experiences and outcomes of care and treatment for older people with dementia in acute hospital settings.

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