Mental health and physical health experts from two local NHS Trusts have come together to improve care for patients living with dementia.
Staff from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (CWP) Croft Ward have been working alongside their colleagues from East Cheshire NHS Trust to share knowledge around topics such as falls prevention, improving the care environment, helpful therapies (including music, sensory, art and physiotherapy) and individualised end-of-life care to support the physical and mental health needs of people with dementia.
The initiative has strengthened relationships between teams from both organisations and has highlighted just how much common ground there is between physical and mental healthcare issues. Staff have reported how valuable they have found the whole experience, stating that now feel significantly more confident dealing with issues outside of their speciality.
Croft Ward Manager, Maurice Egan, is clear about the benefits that the initiative has brought.
He said, “I have found this project very exciting and a real way to make a difference. Our partnership stemmed from the local Operational Dementia Steering Group. Initially it was aimed at improving experience of those with dementia, and carers moving from one NHS provider to another. However, the working relationships forged have developed into sharing good practice.”
Katy Dunn, Senior Sister East Cheshire NHS Trust, is clear about the benefits of collaborative working.
She said: “The relationships we have built with staff from CWP has been invaluable. Sharing a joint approach to dementia care has enabled us to drawn on staff’s expertise and ensure that our patients are cared for in the right place by supporting each other”
Building positive relationships between the Trusts has ensured that patients are treated in the place best suited to their primary needs, with ongoing support and expert consultation. This in turn reassures patients and carers that their needs are being met.
“Since our initial work, we have started working with a consultant, Dr Dawn Moody, from the Frailty Service (ECT). She attends the ward fortnightly to review patients. The aim of this is to reduce unnecessary transfers, which causes disruption to patients, and take action with physical health issues before they worsen or arise,” Maurice explains.
“Changes in setting can be distressing for those living with dementia. We have adopted a frailty tool as a result for use in our service as part of this work,” he continues.
CWP and East Cheshire Trust have pledged to continue to work together to improve the experiences of patients living with dementia and carers. Clinical expertise will continue to be shared to make sure that patients receive the best possible healthcare for their situation. Through this engagement, along with third part organisations, the two Trusts pledge to continue to jointly foster and encourage high-quality person-centred care.