Nurses gather to improve dementia services in Staffordshire communities

Around 80 community based nurses are coming together next month for a special event to discuss better ways to diagnose and support people with dementia and their families.

The event is being jointly organised by two of Staffordshire’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who together serve over 275,000 patients (see Notes to Editors), with South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT), the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies and The Alzheimer’s Society.

The nurses all work in community settings, either within GP practices or as district nurses.

Dr Paddy Hannigan is a Stafford GP and Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG. He said: “Around 90 per cent of all direct contact between patients and the NHS happens in primary care outside hospitals. So we are working hard to make sure all clinicians including our nurses have the latest information about spotting early signs of dementia, diagnosis, treatment and support for patients and their families.

“Our nurses are highly skilled and have more contact with some patients than GPs. They are also able to make referrals and give advice without direct involvement from a doctor. This event is a welcome development as we are making dementia one of our priorities.

“We are really pleased as NHS CCGs to be working together on this project for the benefit of our patients. We also plan to join the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Dementia Action Alliance. This brings together a range of organisations including local authorities and health trusts, carers organisations, housing providers and faith and voluntary groups to radically improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers.”

The event is taking place at the Hatherton House Hotel, Penkridge, on Thursday May 4.

Among the topics to be discussed will be how to make GP practices more dementia friendly.

Nurse Practitioner Linda Jones is based at Chase Medical Practice and Heath Hayes Health Centre. She said: “General practice nurses know their patients and families very well, often recognising changes in their behaviour and listening to them about their concerns.

“To support practices and their staff to become more dementia friendly we welcome any additional information and training on symptoms of early onset dementia, referrals and how to access support services for our patients."

Speakers will include Michal Herz, Senior Lecturer and Head of Education from the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester and Dr Rashi Negi, Consultant Psychiatrist for Older Adults, SSSFT.

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