The recent hospital standards report ‘Improving care for people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment while in hospital‘ states that some hospitals are adopting a dementia ward champion role, in addition to a senior hospital clinical lead. Ward champions will be well placed to ensure there is a process for measuring delivery against the standards.
The ward champion role has been developed at Musgrove Park Hospital, part of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. The role definition and training requirements are described below and can be downloaded here.
All areas/departments where staff work with patients who have Dementia / Alzheimer’s, and staff who work with relatives and carers who’s relative has Dementia / Alzheimer’s will identify and support Dementia Ward Champions. All staff that care for patients with Dementia should be appropriately trained and therefore it is essential that protected time is given to maintain a knowledge base and to fulfil the duties of the role; this should be negotiated with individual managers as each area will require different demands on their time.
The Dementia Ward Champions provide support within the organisation by:
- Be a single point of contact for the ward team caring for Dementia patients, to cascade information from the Dementia working group to their own clinical area.
- Provide an essential link between practice areas across the Trust. Supporting staff in ensuring patients with dementia are the focus for consideration even when the primary intervention is with the carers.
- Be vital in supporting the Trust to execute its responsibilities to safeguard patients with dementia. It is essential that Dementia Ward Champions are fully supported and empowered by managers to carry out these responsibilities.
- Should be aware of the named and designated leads for Dementia and know how to access them.
- Alert the Named Nurse to any serious or significant incident or concern relating to the welfare of a patient with dementia.
- Be proactive and inform the Named Nurse of any gaps identified within the services in their area of work relating to caring for patients with dementia.
- Support the Dementia clinical audits and implement actions from the findings.
Role and responsibilities
The Dementia Ward Champions will promote best practice in dementia care within their ward areas by:
- Acting as a resource for staff within their area on issues relating to dementia care and best practice.
- Support staff to deliver patient centered dementia care.
- Signposting staff and carers to support services.
- Provide support and information to staff within their area to access appropriate advice and assistance.
- Seek advice, support and supervision from the trusts Dementia Working group.
- Keep staff on their ward up to date regarding current dementia issues.
- Ensure system and processes are in place on their wards to deliver the trusts safeguarding and mental capacity policies.
- Ensure process in place to share with ward manager and ward staff information from Dementia Ward Champions meetings.
- The Dementia Ward Champions will be expected to attend regular Dementia Link meetings. These meetings will be held 6 – 8 weekly, chaired by Sister Sue Wood
- The Chair will use these meetings to cascade information from the Trust’s Dementia Working Group
- The meetings will provide an opportunity to share new developments in Dementia care, ensure systems are in place to enable safe practice, and disseminate lessons learned from serious case reviews.
- Provide a forum to discuss best practice and share experiences relating to Dementia.
- Copies of notes from these meetings will be circulated to the Dementia Ward Champions and their managers.
Dementia Ward Champions will:
- Registered nurses will be expected to have completed HEAB238/ HEAC342 Enhancing / Care and Support of the person with Dementia and their Carer
- Attend additional Local Dementia multi-agency training to maintain their knowledge and skills.
- Be responsible for ensuring all new staff within their area of responsibility has dementia addressed in their work place induction.
- Assist with the delivery of training within their area.
- Act as a resource for staff requiring further training or who have a particular interest in Dementia.
- Identify any additional training needs within their area of responsibility or for individual staff members.
Rob Conway, Matron, Emergency & Uplanned Care Division, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone: 01823 343856. Bleep 2007