The County Council, in partnership with the NHS clinical commissioning groups in North Yorkshire, commissioned a dementia support service in 2014. The overall aim of the service is to improve people’s quality of life, promote their independence and help them to plan and to maintain or widen their social networks while living with dementia.
“Evidence shows that people living with dementia and their families often do not get the information and support they need at the right time, particularly following a diagnosis of dementia,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration.
“In North Yorkshire, we have an ageing population and over 9,000 of our residents are living with dementia. The dementia service supports and informs people so that they can start to come to terms with their diagnosis and understand the options available to them – accessing what they need, when they need it.”
Dementia support workers help people to link with agencies and groups that can support them, including, if they wish, others who are living with the condition. The support service in the Scarborough and Ryedale, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Whitby and Craven areas is provided by adult social care charity Making Space.
Making Space’s successes during the first two years of the dementia support service include:
- working well with the memory clinics across all the areas and attending monthly education sessions talking to newly diagnosed patients at the Friarage;
- promoting the dementia support service to GPs and making sure information leaflets are available through the surgeries;
- working in partnership with Dyneley House Surgery in Skipton to deliver a training package to people with dementia and carers. The practice has recently won an award for Outstanding Contribution to Dementia Friendly Communities; and
- holding drop-in sessions at libraries in Malton, Scarborough, Settle, Ingleton and Crosshills.
Making Space has been working with North Yorkshire Police to promote awareness of the Herbert Protocol. This is a form that is used by the police when they search for people with dementia who have gone missing. It contains vital information about them which is filled in by the person with dementia, their family or carers.
When someone is reported missing, the police need a vast amount of information from people who are likely to be in a heightened state of anxiety. The form helps the police in their search for the missing person, saving valuable time and helping return them to safety.
Making Space has also developed clear and concise fact sheets about all aspects of living with dementia. The work undertaken by Making Space’s Dementia Space Team has recently won a regional National Care awards and been shortlisted for the national final in May. They were also shortlisted for a Laing Buisson Award for their law clinic.
“These achievements really do need to be celebrated,” said Councillor Wood. “Making Space’s work so far has increased referrals to the support service. This means more people living with North Yorkshire are being helped, enabling them to continue doing what they have always done and to try new things for as long as possible. Making Space is there for them and their carers offering support, information, education and coping mechanisms.”
A dementia support service for the rest of the county funded by North Yorkshire County Council and the NHS is provided by voluntary organisation Dementia Forward.