[A version of this abstract appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 1 Issue 9, April 2011].
Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been involved in raising awareness among ambulance crews so that they may better help patients with dementia.
Ambulance crews are often the first point of contact for with people with dementia, who may come to the attention of the service as a result of primary incidents such as falls.
A brief information leaflet has been produced (see the link below) to help crews identify someone may have dementia, listing common signs and symptoms of dementia and the medication individuals with dementia may be taking.
The increased awareness should assist in the identification of patients who require dementia-appropriate community services, and initiation of appropriate liaison / links with these services. There should then be fewer unnecessary admissions for patients with dementia to hospitals as a result of collaborative work between the ambulance service and health and social care organisations.
Another important aim of this approach is to bring about better sharing of information on arrival at hospital, with a higher probability that an appropriate care package will be developed for the patient.
Dementia: An introductory guide for ambulance clinicians. Chippenham: Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust / South West Dementia Partnership, 2010.
Note: Basic, generic training packages are available on the SCIE website, which ambulance clinicians and crews can study; effectively for zero cost.
Contact details: Vicky O’Leary, Paramedic Clinical Lead, Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Information about this project may also be obtained from:
Wiggins, H. (2011). Good Practice compendium: an assets approach to
“Living well with dementia: a National Dementia Strategy”.
Leeds: Department of Health (Social Care, Local Government & Care Partnerships), January 10th 2011. (Dementia Gateway reference no. 15374).