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GP Practices work together to become more ‘dementia friendly’

GP Practices work together to become more ‘dementia friendly’
06 August 2018


Dementia Friendly Reception team at Hackenthorpe Medical Centre 

GP Practices work together to become more ‘dementia friendly’

Plans are in place to make GP practices across Sheffield ‘dementia friendly’, increasing access for dementia patients and helping to improve their quality of life.

Over the past six months, a number of reception and other practice staff have received training to understand the experiences of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and how best to communicate and care for those people.

This training and support will continue to be rolled out with the help of NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) ‘Neighbourhoods’ initiative, a scheme that helps GP practices share resources and work together to improve patient experience and access to care.

Lead by Alzheimer's Society UK with significant support from the Sheffield Dementia Action Alliance, the aim of ‘dementia friendly’ training is to improve the quality and equality of healthcare for people with dementia. As there are over 4,800 people diagnosed with dementia across Sheffield, this work is vital to help patients remain as part of their communities and improve their sense of wellbeing.

The aim is to share this learning across every practice in the city, with more CCG-backed training now being planned for October and November this year.

Helen Lenthall, Business Manager for Hackenthorpe Medical Centre and one of the team leaders for the ‘Neighbourhoods’ scheme, said: “by becoming ‘dementia friendly’, our administrative teams are more aware of the signs and symptoms. Staff can support patients and carers more effectively and look out for any concerns that their GP or other support agencies can help with.

“Working as part of the CCG’s ‘Neighbourhoods’ helps us make sure that all the practices in the area are consistent. We can share good ideas and resources, and most importantly offer the best care possible.”

Wincobank Medical Centre was one of the first GP practices in Sheffield to become ‘dementia friendly’. All front-line staff have been trained to recognise and care for the needs of dementia patients, with steps taken to make sure the physical environment was accessible and comfortable.

Health Care Assistant at Wincobank Medical Centre Bev Batty helped co-ordinate this work, which was then shared through the ‘Neighbourhoods’ scheme. She said: “We are really excited and proud of what we’ve achieved here – we hope our work will make appointment visits much less stressful for patients with dementia.”

By continuing to roll out this training with support from the CCG, GP practices aim to show how ‘dementia friendliness’ can be a valuable part of all public services in the community. Sarah Jones, GP at Norwood Medical Centre, said: “our work will help us to ensure patients are getting complete access to diagnostic and support services for dementia, and will hopefully provide a basis for improving things in the wider community, for example in banks and shops.”

For more information on the ‘Neighbourhoods’ scheme, please visit http://www.sheffieldccg.nhs.uk/our-projects/neighbourhoods.htm

‘Dementia friendly’ training is led by Alzheimer's Society UK, along with the help of many other organisations. For more information on how ‘dementia friendly’ training can improve your workplace, please visit https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

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