Dementia Awareness Week.

Throughout this week people have been spreading awareness of dementia for dementia awareness week. There have been various events held across the country, in NHS Trusts and in the community. Healthcare professionals have also taken to social media in large volumes to spread awareness which is very impressive.

The dementia care team at the NHS Trust where I work have held events throughout the week, engaging with visitors, patients and staff to help spread awareness and how we can help support people with dementia.

The biggest event of the week, which I also attended, was a joint conference between North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust & St Monica Trust. This has become an annual event to allow staff to network and develop their knowledge and understanding of dementia. There were various talks led by the trusts and St Monica on support services, staff development and carer engagement. During the afternoon session there were talks on creating dementia friendly environments and supporting patients in meaningful occupation.

During a talk by Bristol Clinical Commissioning group we were informed of a service whereby support workers employed by the Alzheimer’s society offer support and advice following diagnosis. I think this is really key as people with dementia can be left to go through it alone at times and its very important that we ensure that they are supported throughout their journey.

I also spent some time this morning networking and sharing ideas over Twitter with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The discussions were once again around creating dementia friendly environments, the psychology of colour and supporting patients in meaningful activities. I shared with South West Yorkshire some of the things we were trying in order to support our patients such as use of murals or colourful wallpapers. We also discussed use of twiddlemuffs (knitted items to occupy patients time) and activity boxes to keep patients engaged and occupied during their treatments.

In the next few weeks I am hoping to attend a dementia conference in partnership with the Alzheimer’s society at Ashton Gate in Bristol. I will also be attending RCN Congress in Glasgow next month with my highlight being the debate on wether patients with dementia get a fair deal when admitted to hospital.

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