By Julie Willoughby,
Consultant Nurse for Dementia Services,
Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust.
As part of the project to deliver excellence in dementia care at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Ward D22 opened in November 2010. It offers a bespoke environment with skilled staff providing acute medical care to patients with dementia. The ward is quickly becoming recognised as a centre of excellence in the delivery of a person-centred “care bundle approach” to the care experience.
Our Outreach Philosophy
Ward D22 has only 20 beds and we know from commissioned Point Prevalence studies that, conservatively, there is at least three times this amount of people with dementia receiving care and treatment within New Cross Hospital at any one time. People with dementia can be found in almost every ward and department in the hospital and at any stage of the illness trajectory from early memory loss to end-of-life care.
The Dementia Outreach Service was established to reach out to the whole of the hospital with the aim to improve both the quality of service delivery and the care experience for patients with dementia and their carers throughout the Trust. The multidisciplinary team is led by Julie Willoughby, Consultant Nurse for Dementia Services and consists of Dementia Outreach Nurse, Gemma Hammond, Dementia Outreach Occupational Therapist Liz Macdonald and dietetic input. The team is actively supported by Dr. Daryl Leung, Consultant Geriatrician and Gill Maidens, Dementia Trainer.
Our Proactive Approach
Whilst offering a traditional referral process, the Dementia Outreach Service proactively seeks to identify patients with a known or suspected diagnosis of dementia admitted to the acute Trust. An electronic database flagging system and daily EAU ward rounds assist in this identification process. The service provides a single point of referral and first line response.
Once clients are identified the Dementia Outreach Service can provide a range of services aimed at improving the patient and carer experience. The services available include comprehensive specialist assessment, D22 transfer facilitation, complex capacity opinions, family and carer liaison, staff education and training, and care management planning.
A Person-Centred Care Bundle
The service also aims to facilitate implementation of a person-centred “care bundle” approach. This involves attention being given to each individual clinical area, ensuring that communication, nutrition and hydration and environmental factors are recognised as key areas to be considered when caring for persons with dementia.
The service offers an open referral system, referrals being accepted from all disciplines, internal and external to the Trust, including family and carers. The Dementia Outreach Service operates a dynamic and flexible work plan. It currently provides a service from 08.30 until 16.30, Monday to Friday. There is the aspiration to increase clinical capacity in order to extend service provision in the future.
RWHT’s Dementia Action Network
One of the next exciting stages in the development of excellence in dementia care throughout the Trust, and for the local region, is the establishment of the new Dementia Action Network (DAN). This will consist of lead professionals from within the Trust, the D22 ward team and passionate and enthusiastic individuals who have completed the “Specialist Practice in Person-Centred Care in Acute Hospitals” training module. It will coordinate and liaise with key services and individuals from outside the Trust.
Advice Is At Hand
For further information about either the Dementia Outreach Service, the emerging Dementia Action Network or for help or advice on any dementia related issue, please do not hesitate to contact Julie Willoughby, Consultant Nurse for Dementia Services.Julie may be contacted on Ward D22, New Cross Hospital (phone her on 01902 694022/5022 or 07770800959).