June Meeting of Dementia Friendly Worthing

At our June meeting, we welcomed Allison Cannon, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Sussex and East Surrey who delivered an excellent presentation.

She thanked us, Worthing’s Dementia Action Alliance, for achieving so much during our first five years and praised not just our work but achieving such a dynamic online presence with the website and social media and significant buy-in from local businesses and organisations across Worthing.

Initiatives such as the Pop-up Hubs, the Dementia Friends sessions, drop-in sessions, dementia friendly cinema and encouragement to GP surgeries and dentists, plus support for people affected by the disease had been well received.

Allison showed a pictorial overview of West Sussex’s Dementia Care Pathway and talked about steadily improving dementia diagnosis rates, post-diagnostic support and better access to dementia skills training.

With nine Dementia Action Alliances in the county, Worthing was by far the largest with 47 members (23 May 2019). There was increased coordination between health, the social sector and community services via multiple forums, including the DAAs, which was an essential aspect of building on a Dementia Friendly Community.

It was recognised there was much more to achieve from improving links between services as they were still very much siloed; providing information and advice in a timely and appropriate manner and recognising the value and support that unpaid carers gave. They were looking at up-skilling GPs; identifying that needs were social and not always mental and bridging the gap between health and social care with activities.

Primary care networks of GP Practices were between 30,000 to 100,000 patients and that it was important that GPs can signpost their patients to what is available in the local areas. Progress in Worthing had resulted in diagnosis rates improving to 65%.

Long term planning across the counties was seen to be essential as, at the current time, West Sussex is the only area with a Dementia Care Pathway.

Allison said that where we all need to work together to achieve more than we could see:

•    Further reducing waiting times for diagnosis

•    Address capacity issues within dementia services through partnership working

•    Early diagnosis and ongoing support for people with Learning Disabilities and minority groups

•    Enhance Dementia Friendly Communities to ensure sustainability

•    Enhance support for people with dementia and their families

•    Reduce stigma and improve engagement through a more joined-up approach to information and advice

•    Better access and choice around permanent and replacement residential/nursing care

•    The routine practice of advance care planning

The presentation opened up a discussion which included funding for Admiral Nurses; dementia-friendly wards across the whole of Worthing Hospital and the closing of dementia wards in the county and a move to Salvington Lodge with a public consultation commencing on 6 July 2019.

You can download a copy of the presentation as a pdf here.

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