Dementia patients and carers in West Lancashire are benefitting from a further boost to community services, following the development of new support teams by NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.
With 1365 people living with dementia* in West Lancashire and the figure set to rise, healthcare commissioners are preparing for this increase and ensuring there is care available close to everyone’s homes.
The CCG has worked with other commissioning colleagues across Lancashire and thanks to further investment the following services are now in place helping not only those with dementia, but also their families and carers:
- Nursing home liaison services – this was set up in June 2013 and is a group of specialists with expert knowledge and a range of therapies and techniques to help during more difficult periods of time. They can assess a person with dementia and monitor their behaviour in order to overcome the problems they identify.
- Intermediate support teams– this team has been working extended hours 7 days a week since August 2013, taking referrals from 8am until 8pm. This team helps families or care homes when they are finding it difficult to cope and helps to avoid admission to a specialist hospital. They help facilitate independent living and offer continuous support until improvements are seen.
- Community mental health teams – this team is based in Ormskirk and has been in place for a number of years. It is responsible for looking after people by providing assessment and ongoing treatment for those with complex needs. This team will support patients in their homes or care homes and assist with their mental health symptoms. The team is made up of many roles such as social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists.
- Memory assessment services – this is another existing service, which has been in place for a number of years. This team works at the point a person with dementia is given their diagnosis, offering advice on support and treatments available for both themselves and their carer, allowing them to plan for their future and cope with any consequences relating to dementia.
- Hospital liaison services – this team offers advice and support to staff in general hospitals. The CCG and Merseycare are running a 12 month pilot of this scheme, which started in June 2013. The team can help improve the care received while a patient is in Southport hospital and make sure they receive the right community services to suit their needs once they are leave hospital.
Dr Simon Frampton, local GP and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“We know there are currently 17,607 people aged 65 and over living with dementia in Lancashire, with a certain number of those living in our local area of West Lancashire. These figures speak for themselves so providing access to care and quality services is paramount to our offering as commissioners. As dementia is a complex condition, we also need to ensure there are good quality early diagnosis, intervention and ongoing support for both patients and their carers. Similarly West Lancashire residents need to have access to quality hospital care and in more extreme cases have access to inpatient specialist care.
“By investing in these community services and working together with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, people in West Lancashire who are affected by dementia – personally or as family members/carers – have access to safe, quality services which are specifically designed for dementia. The progress made to date is a major step forward in regards to dementia care and already hundreds of people are benefitting from these local dedicated teams on a daily basis. However, moving forwards we will continue to assess the local need, and with committed health and social care professionals that have an excellent understanding and experience of dementia, aim to deliver services people need close to where they live.”
Dr Amanda Thornton, clinical director for adult community services at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, added:
“By working with the healthcare commissioners and clinical experts within their organisations, we are aiming to provide an array of services that enable people with dementia to be supported in their usual place of residence for as long as possible. Because moving people with dementia can disrupt their established routines, there is a strong case for taking services to them, to avoid an admission to hospital wherever possible. Better outcomes and quality of life can be achieved through such an approach.
“A huge amount of investment has already been made into developing community teams to enable people to be cared for in their usual place of residence, which means that fewer people with dementia require a hospital admission.”
** Source of estimated prevalence: Dementia UK, Expert Delphi Consensus