In recognition of Dementia Action Week, which runs from Monday 16 May to Sunday 22 May, we are taking the opportunity to highlight our Dementia Care Team and the hard work they do throughout the trust for our patients.

Yeovil Hospital’s Dementia Care Team is made up of seven members of staff. In the last 18 months the team has provided support to over 1,500 patients who were living with dementia, had a cognitive impairment or delirium.  

This week’s Dementia Awareness Week campaign, run by the charity Alzheimer’s Society, is focused on the theme of diagnosis. During the COVID-19 pandemic diagnosis rates dropped for the first time and in response the Yeovil Hospital team has developed a new diagnostic approach in order to diagnose patients and give them the opportunity to receive the right support for their needs.   

Specialist Matron and Head of the Dementia Services Kirsty Withers said: “We are incredibly lucky to have a team of dedicated dementia nurses that go out of their way to provide the best support possible for our patients and their families. Our new diagnostics pathway allows us to go one step further.”

The new approach for hospital inpatients will offer external services a helping hand when it comes to diagnosing dementia or cognitive impairment. Once a patient has been admitted to the hospital and concerns have been raised by their next of kin or by a member of staff, the dementia team use their specialist knowledge and experience to carry out an assessment. The team then link with the patient’s GP to discuss the results and allow the right level of support and ongoing care to be put in place.

Kirsty added: “A diagnosis is the first step to getting the right care, and we have the skills and tools to do this within the hospital whilst the patient is staying with us, often receiving treatment or care for a separate condition. Working in this way means we can help to diagnose patients as early as possible and put them and their family on the path to getting ongoing support once they have been discharged.”

Seeing a loved one struggle is never easy, if you are concerned about a friend or family member please seek help from your local GP service, or head over to the Alzheimer’s Society charity website here. Remember; support is always available.

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