Today (21 September), is World Alzheimer’s Day, part of World Alzheimer’s Month in September. World Alzheimer's Day is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia.
Our Dementia and Delirium (DAD) Team is a group of mental health/general nurses who are passionate about providing quality care for people with dementia/delirium and their carers. Emma Ouldred, Lead Dementia and Delirium Specialist Nurse, shares the importance of raising awareness, "It's important to remember that dementia is a global issue and affects people all over the world. Having dementia and caring for a person with dementia can be challenging at times so it is crucial that people with dementia and their carers can access dementia support services wherever they live in the world."
Emma continues to explain the behind the scenes of the DAD inpatient service at King's, "We see patients aged 18 and above across the Trust. We receive referrals from all areas of the hospital including the maternity and Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU). Referrals are often made to help differentiate between acute and chronic confusion, or to manage behaviour that is distressing. We've received increased referrals recently for younger patients who have developed COVID related delirium which sadly is a common phenomenon.
"We advocate patient-centred role and encourage staff to complete a ‘this is me’ document in order to understand a patient’s needs better, especially if they are very confused and cannot verbalise their needs or if their first language isn’t English. We also support families on the wards.
"There is good continuity of care if a patient is already known to our Memory Clinic, which has been running for the last 18 years. These nurse-led outpatient clinics offer assessment, diagnosis and on-going follow-up. To support patients and carers through their dementia journey - as we can pop up to the ward to assess our patients and help staff formulate management plans. We help families understand advanced dementia and support colleagues in palliative care and other hospital staff to care for these vulnerable patients and their carers.
"At King's we are keen to promote dementia-friendly environments all over the Trust, and provide dementia and delirium training to staff in all departments including volunteers, medical students, nurses, and healthcare assistants. Our role is busy but very fulfilling."