Dementia friendly communities in Guildford and Waverley

ContactLeah O'Donovan, Project Officer - Dementia, Surrey County Council
Telephone020 8541 7030
AddressQuadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7QQ

This project will deliver a new service to develop Dementia friendly communities capable of supporting people to live well with dementia in Guildford and Waverley.

Currently there is no effective service in place to allow the primary health community to fully reassure or confidently signpost an individual with possible cognitive loss. GPs have no tool to allow them to do this, except in circumstances where the cognitive loss is clearly advanced, when the traditional tools of linear (paper based) cognition assessment tools can be used.

This project will use a new computerised assessment tool (Cantab Mobile) placed within each of our GP surgeries allowing our Primary Health Teams to fully reassure or confidently signpost patients to secondary care as appropriate. For the first time Cantab Mobile will allow us to confidently distinguish between early cognitive loss and subjective memory loss without referral on to secondary care, and avoiding the risk of inappropriate reassurance.

Using Cantab Mobile we will encourage Primary Care Teams to offer cognition assessment as part of our Dementia Friendly Community because, for the first time, they will have a tool to allow them to do this. We aim to do this as a long term cultural change, with 5 year licenses for the cognition tool, ensuring that the normality of assessment for early cognitive loss is embedded in Primary Care for the first time.

The core function of the project is to raise the profile of mental health.  Education sessions will be targeted at the high street shops and businesses, supermarkets, emergency services, bus and taxi firms, local theatres and cinemas, leisure centres, library staff and non clinical staff in health centres.  The training will also be delivered to public facing staff at the local authority which includes call centre staff, reception staff, parking attendants, refuse collectors, and environmental health. In order to deliver this training in the most cost effective and sustainable manner the project will use a ‘Train the trainer’ methodology. One or two figures from each organization will be invited to attend a basic awareness raising session with a trainer – a leaflet with the core information will be provided to support and retain their learning. The representative will then be responsible for taking the knowledge back to their organization and sharing with the rest of their staff. The leaflets will have sign posting information for local services such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Carer Support groups etc so this information can be sign posted forward.

Patients and carers will be at the heart of the project assisting with shaping the training program; giving them a voice and empowering them to assist in developing a community which promotes their healthy living. After conversations with numerous carer groups and peer support networks we have identified the following issues as key features within the training program; the importance of mental health and what memory loss actually means, how to recognize that people may be having problems, how to respond to people who may be having problems, how to communicate more effectively with people who have memory problems, and what to do if someone is in need of help?

The project has been adopted and shaped from schemes currently running in Hampshire County Council, Somerset County Council and Sheffield City Council.


  • Increase the level of awareness and understanding of Dementia and mental health within the local community through partnership working with the local community we aim to create lines of communication through which information can be disseminated.
  • Use Dementia Navigators to share information with our partners and promote support services where it is available. The increased level of awareness is aimed at driving away stigma and modelling a community which is sufficient in supporting its residents and promoting healthy, safe living at home or place of choice.
  • To increase the number of people seeking a diagnosis from where ongoing support and advice can be instigated. Local services will be sign posted, all aimed at improving the quality of life for both the patient and their carer.
  • To use the CANTAB tool to provide an efficient screening decision from which further action can be taken.
  • To create Dementia friendly wards within the hospital to orient patients and provide a calm and sensitised environment of stay. To reduce the number of falls and incidents from patients losing their way in the wards.

Anticipated outcomes

  • Presentations to primary and secondary care:  There will be an increase in people presenting to primary care which will in turn increase the number of diagnoses. Furthermore, this will subsequently lead to an increase in the proportion of patients being referred to secondary care with a diagnosis of dementia. This is a benefit, as diagnosis will lead to the further access of services be that medical, social or peer support.
  • Access of services: the number of referrals and self referrals made to partners (The Alzheimer’s Society, Carer support Guildford and Waverley) will be measured and compared to baseline figures. This will indicate whether the increase in sign posting has actively encouraged the community to approach these local services.
  • Number of trained staff: this will reflect the growing awareness of mental health in the community, and increase competency levels of a modern workforce working with people with dementia.
  • Living at home: A combination of the increase in awareness and up skilled workforce in the community will allow for more people to remain living independently at home.
  • Reduction in falls and incidents: A calmer ward environment will reduce the level of agitation or distress that the patients experience. Sanitary ware will be in a more visible colour for the patients with clearer signage helping them to identify the bathrooms. The use of matt flooring should have a positive effect on the reduction of falls.

Progress update

The public awareness campaign kicked off in September with bus adverts, local radio podcasts and editorials, a social media campaign and over 70,000 mythbuster flyers being distributed. The number of Champions signing up is growing, including a large leisure centre in Guildford. The number of Innovation Fund bids is promising. A tour of businesses in Guildford and Waverley showed interest in the free training on offer. A community meeting is being organised in Cranleigh as it wants to become a dementia friendly village. The training is in the process of being procured and is likely to begin being rolled out in the new year.

2 thoughts on “Dementia friendly communities in Guildford and Waverley

  1. Dr Trevor Adams


    I live in Farnham and was a lecturer in dementia care at Surrey University. I am now developing dementia friendly churches with a national social care organisation. I attend a church in the centre of Guildford – would you be interested in hearing more about how churches can support people with dementia and their families

    Trevor Adams

    1. Rowan Post author

      Hi Trevor,

      We are always interested to hear about and share what is going on locally to support people with dementia and their families. If you are happy to share your story with others we will feature it on the site.

      on behalf of the Dementia Partnerships

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