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New dementia consultancy service for care home staff in response to Covid-19

16 June, 2020

A new service – Dementia Support UK: Connect, Consult – aims to provide immediate expert support for people caring for those living with dementia in the care home sector.

Funded by Innovate UK, and provided by HammondCare, the service is now available to every care home in England. In response to the Covid crisis, the service provides care home managers and their staff with access to a trained consultant at no cost to provide personal, non-pharmacological support – through video conferencing and telephone consultation.

Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, director of Dementia Centre, HammondCare said the new service addressed an urgent need to help people living with dementia in care homes, their carers and families.

“People living with dementia have been impacted by coronavirus and the social isolation resulting from restrictions on family visits has led to depression and anxiety,” said Prof. Cunningham.

“Care staff are dealing with increased pressure and reduced staffing levels and interruption in services from other parts of the health and social care sector.

“The aim of the service is to help staff, solve problems and give them confidence. We know that the care sector has been severely impacted by Covid-19, carers feel isolated and routines and support networks have been interrupted. This service will help the care home sector at this time of urgent need. Our consultants will be able to offer advice and support and share their extensive knowledge of dementia-related behaviours. We are a listening ear and additional support to help them offer the best care.

“We know, from working with this model of care, that if people living with dementia and care partners are supported in times of disruption, we can reduce the need for more costly health resources, such as hospital care.”

National Care Forum executive director Vic Rayner has spoken in support of the new service:

“Dementia care is a highly specialist area of care and ensuring the consistent delivery of person-centred care within a global pandemic is paramount,” said Ms Rayner.

“Therefore, it is very helpful at this time, that this new service provided by HammondCare and funded by Innovate UK will allow care homes free access to expertise from specialist colleagues to support the continued delivery of high quality care across the country.”

Dementia Support UK: Connect, Consult, is a new service adapted from a tried and tested and innovative approach developed in Australia through a programme led by the Dementia Centre, HammondCare. Since the start of that programme in 2016 the partnership has supported more than 25,000 people with dementia in care homes, domestic homes and hospitals.

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