Champions for older people become on dementia champions in Plymouth

ContactKaren Grimshaw, Associate Director of Nursing/Nurse Consultant Older People, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
AddressDerriford Rd, Crownhill, Plymouth, Devon, PL6 8DH

What is being done?

Existing Champions for Older People are being designated as Dementia Champions across all adult wards, departments and services. The Trust has developed Champions for Older People over the past five years, these staff act as advocates and ambassadors for the needs of older people in the acute hospital.

A one-day, multi-professional training programme delivers scenario-based training on the needs of acutely ill older people in hospital, the programme has run over the past five years and has trained over 200 Champions from all specialities, professions and grades of staff.

Those with 3 or more ALICE (a specific screening tool) components are identified as likely to require multi-disciplinary/multi-agency discharge planning.

With the development of the Trust’s Dementia Standards Improvement Plan, some of the Champions for Older People have been designated to lead on dementia in clinical practice; there are Dementia Champions in nearly all wards/departments and they are represented in nursing and therapy groups. Dementia Champions have attended further training on the needs of people living with dementia and are supported in clinical practice by the dementia standards leads.

The Dementia Champions have been involved in raising awareness of the needs of people living with dementia, the development of Memory Boxes at ward level, implementation of Intentional Care rounding and person-centred care planning.

What is new and different?

This initiative has built on the success of the Champions for Older People, enabling the role of Dementia Champion to be quickly established across the Trust. The Champions are being used to implement and embed many of the new initiatives and developments in care e.g. person-centred care planning, memory boxes.

What difference this seems to be making

There is a general increase in awareness of the needs of people living with dementia.  Nearly all wards/departments now have a Dementia Champion, which is enabling care at a patient level to be more focused on the individual needs of patients. There is a real commitment to the fundamental essences of care for people living with dementia.

Plans for taking the project forward

Champions for Older People will continue to be trained and developed, a further four multi-professional training programmes have been set for this year.  Dementia Champions will meet on a quarterly basis to support the further implementation of the Dementia Standards and to work with those leading the Dementia Improvement Plan to embed new practices or introduce new initiatives.