Dementia in Focus for AHPs as Hospital Numbers Increase

AN EVENT at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has marked the launch of a new national document focused on how allied health professionals (AHPs) work with people with a dementia: ‘Connecting People, Connecting Support’.

High numbers of people in the region have dementia – highlighting the need for health professionals to consider their approach to helping those with the illness.

Joan Pollard is the Associate Director for Allied Health, and she said: “Dementia is a growing issue in Dumfries and Galloway, with an ageing population, and at any one time up to 25 per cent of the patients in DGRI or Galloway Community Hospital will have the illness.”
Wendy Chambers is the AHP practice education lead.
Playing a key role in organising last Thursday’s event, Wendy said: “AHPs are a diverse group and include professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, dieticians, speech language therapists and paramedics.
 “We organised a seminar and workshop with a group of AHPs to mark the launch of ‘Connecting People, Connecting Support’, and to look at how we take forward the aims set out within the document, created by Alzheimer’s Scotland for the Scottish Government.
“We were very pleased to welcome Elaine Hunter, national AHP consultant from Alzheimer’s Scotland, to open the event, and set out how AHPs are expected to help ensure implementation of the document.”

The majority of the event was dedicated to a workshop aimed at helping the wide mixture of AHPs and other health professionals address three of the four questions set out in the document.

Lorna Harrison, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics, said: “The atmosphere was really positive and buzzing, with everybody very engaged in working together to think about how we develop our approaches.
“And I think perhaps having a brand new hospital helps, because people have already been making changes to the way they work.”

Part of the work will include moving towards all AHP staff being trained to the Skilled Practice Level of Dementia Training, which helps them develop the skills and values needed to support someone with dementia, their families and carers.

And NHS Dumfries and Galloway is leading the way, with a pilot scheme aimed at speeding up dementia diagnoses and the support which then follows.

The work is taking place within primary care in Nithsdale, with Gillbrae Medical Practice in Dumfries the focus of work which will be supported by £100,000 of Scottish Government funding over the next two years.

For information about what AHPs can do for people with dementia, visit the website www.letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com



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