Directors Dr Maria-Paloma Sequerios Camarinha and Dr Hilary Archer provide an update on the 2019-20 activity of the Dementia Health Integration Team (HIT).
The Dementia HIT has undergone quite a transformation with new members and a key role working on a new clinical pathway for the management of frailty.
Our rejuvenation began with a ‘dementia stakeholder workshop’ in May 2019 which was attended by more than 70 representatives of health and social care services, including from primary and secondary care, community care and support organisations, charities and local authorities. We shared information and experiences about what is working well, and we highlighted some of the gaps in dementia services and generated many ideas for moving forwards. This led to the formation of three new Dementia Expert Groups (DEGs) over the summer and autumn, one in each region of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, to continue vital networking and planning for improvements to dementia services.
In the autumn/winter, our DEG members were delighted to be invited by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to help plan the new Frailty Pathway Business Plan. This was approved in April 2020 and is now moving into its implementation phase and we look forward to continuing our role in this. This is ensuring that the needs of people living with dementia are included in the reconfiguration of local diagnostic and post-diagnostic healthcare services.
HIT co-Director Dr Hilary Archer has established a new programme of referral to exercise for people with mild cognitive impairment, and an evaluation to see if this helps promote more physical activity and slow progression to dementia. We have also continued to support the BAME Working Group on Dementia to promote awareness raising and training around the needs of people of black and minority ethnic origins. We are committed towards making all our activities inclusive of people from BAME origins, including public involvement in dementia research and service improvement. Members of the Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group, Bristol Black Carers and Dhek Bhal, have all participated in public discussions about dementia research and other topics including palliative and end of life care, management of patients who are housebound, and shingles.
We are fortunate in being awarded £10,000 from Above & Beyond to support our Dementia HIT activities in the coming year, including project management of the Real Life with Dementia training programme. This was established in South Gloucestershire by HIT co-Director Dr Maria-Paloma Sequeiros Camarinha and Beth Tovey and provides guidance for informal carers on how to cope with caring for someone as dementia progresses. Paloma has also been awarded £24,000 from Health Education England to do an evaluation of Real Life with Dementia, to provide data that we hope will support its roll-out across the region.