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Major event celebrates improving dementia care in Glasgow and Clyde

July 07, 2014 1:50 PM

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde hosted a major event today (Monday 7 July) to celebrate innovations and improvements in dementia care. 

The event, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, brought together NHSGGC’s ‘Dementia Champions’ with other health and social care providers and very importantly carers of patients with dementia, The purpose of the conference was to share improvements and innovations  in the care and support for patients with dementia and their families and carers.

NHSGGC has been participating in the national ‘Dementia Champions’ programme for two years and currently has 58 members of staff who have successfully graduated from the programme with 20 more already taking part in this year’s training.  

Members of NHSGGC staff including nursing, education staff and allied health professionals have all volunteered to undertake this very important specialised training and education programme.

‘Dementia Champions’ help to improve the care, treatment and outcomes of patients with dementia, their families and their carers in our acute hospitals The Dementia Champions also share their specialist learning with their colleagues to enable them to have a better understanding of dementia and to help them care for their patients in a sensitive and appropriate way that meets the needs of each individual patient.

NHSGGC’s Dementia Champions have introduced many improvements and new ways of working – from introducing dementia training for pharmacy staff to introducing a social aspect to meal times to help improve the nutrition of patients with dementia.

Henry Simmons – Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland, said: “Alzheimer Scotland are delighted to be part of this event, which justly celebrates the wonderful achievements of the Dementia Champions in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“In just two years they have already delivered substantial and much-needed improvement to standards of care and support for people with dementia. Working alongside our Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, they have been an incredible and inspiring force for change.”

The Dementia Champions join Sandra Shields, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, and Christine Steel, AHP Dementia Consultant in supporting patients with dementia as well as their families and carers.

Professor Rosslyn Crocket Director of Nursing for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “I would like to congratulate all our ‘Dementia Champions’ on their successful graduation from this very important education and training programme, and I encourage them to share their specialist knowledge with their work colleagues to enable as many staff as we can to provide the best possible care for our patients with dementia.

“Dementia is often a very complex illness which affects people differently. That is why it is so important to care for each patient as an individual with their own needs. The Dementia Champion training is invaluable in achieving this approach to care as it supports staff to realise how they can make a difference to the lives of each individual patient.” 

Approximately 88,000 people with dementia currently live in Scotland. As dementia mainly affects older people over the age of 65, this number is expected to rise in the future as people live longer.

The ‘Dementia Champions’ training helps to equip frontline staff with the knowledge of how best to manage their dementia patients and the environment in which patients are cared for.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “I’d like to congratulate all those members of staff in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde who have completed their training. Dementia Champions play an invaluable role in helping people with dementia and their families, in hospital and care settings. Their roles empower health and social care staff to deliver dignified and personalised dementia care to patients throughout Scotland’s NHS.

“In Scottish hospitals we now have over 400 dementia champions trained, with 120 due to graduate shortly, who support the dementia care action plan for hospitals and ensure people with dementia receive the dignity, respect and care they’re entitled to.”

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland provide the programme which has been running since 2011. The programme supports the Standards of Care for Dementia in acute care

Case Study

Margaret Connolly (51) from Bearsden in Glasgow is a Lead Nurse in Practice Development for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Margaret was one of the first staff members to volunteer for the ‘Dementia Champion’ programme in 2011. She also has personal experience of being a carer for her mother who has dementia.

Margaret said: “My interest in dementia developed as a result of my Mum's illness. She was first diagnosed in 2009 so when I heard about the ‘Dementia Champions’ programme I was really keen to take part. I was also motivated by wanting to improve the way we provide care for all our patients with dementia and their relatives and carers.”

“Since graduating, my colleagues and I have been instrumental in ensuring dementia sessions have been incorporated into the induction of new health care support workers, nurses and newly qualified doctors in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. We’ve also helped to incorporate dementia sessions into other staff educational events.

“With the knowledge I gained from the ‘Dementia Champions’ course and also with my experience of being a service user as a carer for a family member with dementia, my aim is to create a deeper understanding with all staff members of the specific needs of the individual person with dementia in the acute hospital environment.

“My brother and I cared for my mum and looking back it was quite challenging at times, especially if Mum wasn't well as she was prone to infections which made her quite confused and delirious at times.

“I feel from a personal and professional perspective, the knowledge and skills I now have allows me to influence the care provided to patients with dementia and that relatives receive appropriate support while their loved one is in hospital.

“Caring for someone with dementia can be compared to the long slow goodbye as days, months and years go by, you lose them bit by bit and that’s the part that is very difficult. If we as health care providers can help both our patients and their relatives and carers to make this journey slightly easier then I would say that the ‘Dementia Champions’ programme is a success”


Left to right
Margaret Connolly, Lead Nurse in Practice Development; Christine Steel, AHP Dementia Consultant; Sandra Shields, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant; and Andrew Robertson, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected] 
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