By 2021 the number of people living with dementia will rise to over a million and they are more likely to die in a Care Home (Help the Hospices 2013). This is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society report (2103) suggesting that 80% of people living in Care Homes have dementia.
Dementia is a terminal illness as there is no cure and people with dementia and their families face the challenge of living with this progressive illness for many years.
So, armoured with this information and some understanding of the challenges faced by carers and families when caring for someone with dementia at the end of their life is what led HospiceCare in developing a project about dementia and end of life care to care staff in Care Homes across North Northumberland. The aim being, to not only support and raise awareness of the Care Home staff, but to help make a difference in the quality of care delivery and support to people with dementia and their families at the end of their life.
In 2016 the project was successfully funded by two charitable Trusts, Henfrey Charitable Trust and the Garfield
Weston Foundation and their generosity of funding meant that the project was extended from eighteen months to two years. Once funding was in place the Hospice employed two Mental Health nurses into the Hospice team for two days a week so that the knowledge and experience of dementia and end of life care could be fused together.
There are 20 Care Homes across North Northumberland who will all be approached over the next two years to engage with the Hospice, with an opportunity to develop partnership working as well as participate in the project. Earlier this year 5 Care Homes were contacted and currently 4 Care Homes across Alnwick, Amble and Berwick are participating in the project’s seven session programme which addresses topics such as dementia, end of life, communication, comfort care, families, last days of life and bereavement.
We are currently 4 months into delivering the programme and the care homes are welcoming and showing a commitment to the programme by most of their care staff attending each of the sessions which are well received with feedback varying from good to excellent. So whilst the project is still in its infancy its reception from Care Homes and the relationships which are developing with the
Hospice is positive and already making a difference in some way.
Once the programme has finished, relationships with the Care Home will continue with the Hospice as each Care Home will have identified one or two Hospice Link Carers to continue developing relationships with on-going access to support and information when caring for someone with dementia and their family at end of life.
"We all appreciate here that Dementia is not a ‘one size fits all’ condition. It is about constantly having to adapt your care, every day is different. We have all benefited by having HospiceCare in to talk about death and dying. It has enabled us to have a different approach with our families and to have a more open conversation about end of life care.
All our staff, including our domestic staff, carers, managers and team leaders, have found it a positive and rewarding experience having this additional training. It is also very comforting to know that HospiceCare will still be supporting us around dementia and end of life care now and in the future. We will all miss Sue and Betty coming into the home.
We have always been really good at providing end of life care, but the training has reassured us that we are doing the right things. I do hope that the other care homes in North Northumberland take up this wonderful opportunity from HospiceCare.” Alison Moore Care Home Manager, Heatherdale Care Home.
Telephone: 01665 606515
Introducing our Admiral Nurse, Betty Lucas
The Very First Admiral Nurse for North Northumberland
HospiceCare North Northumberland are delighted to announce that due to exciting developments in partnership with Dementia UK – the national charity providing specialist dementia support - they are now in the process of recruiting an Admiral Nurse to provide end of life/ specialist palliative care to the people of North Northumberland living with a diagnosis of Dementia.
Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses who work with and support families and carers of people with dementia. Working collaboratively with other professionals, Admiral Nurses seek to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. They use a range of interventions to help people live positively with the condition and develop skills to improve communication and maintain relationships.
Sue Gilbertson, HospiceCare Clinical Manager said “The Admiral Nurse will be appointed initially for a two year period. During that time the Admiral Nurse will be working in partnership with Dementia UK through Practice Development, Clinical Supervision, and Continuing Professional Development, to maintain excellent standards and specialist skills in dementia care, as well as being an integral member of our Hospice team providing palliative and end of life care.
This Admiral Nurse’s role will involve continuing the further development of the Hospice’s Dementia and End of Life Programme, a project which is currently being delivered into Care Homes across North Northumberland. We are absolutely delighted that we are now able to have an Admiral Nurse as part of our clinical team – the very first in North Northumberland.”
Telephone: 01665 606515