It is Dementia Action Week this week (17 – 23 May) and we wanted to introduce our Dementia Service, Remind. This Service provides support to people in the Portsmouth area (within the PO1 – PO6 postcodes) who have received a diagnosis of dementia, and their carers. Working in partnership with Remind, the dementia service for Portsmouth provided by Solent Mind and Rowans Hospice Charity, has been commissioned by the NHS to deliver care for people with dementia.
The Remind Service includes Intensive Engagement Support Workers and an Activity Co-Ordinator from Solent Mind to support those newly diagnosed. It also includes, two Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Zena and Emma, who work for Rowans Hospice Charity and lead the complex dementia and end of life care support pathway.
A bit about our Dementia Clinical Nurse Specialists
Emma, our first specialist, has a particular passion for working with people with dementia. She is a Registered Mental Nurse and was a Ward Sister for 2 years at Rowans before taking up the CNS role. She has had other management roles working mostly with people with dementia and their families. Emma particularly enjoys building and developing relationships with patients and their families, often supporting them over a number of years. Emma told us that whilst it is often difficult to see patients deteriorate and decline with dementia, it is very rewarding to co-ordinate their care and ensure they are getting the support they need in a timely way.
Zena is a Registered General Nurse and joined the Charity in 2011 as part of the Hospice at Home Team. She started working with Remind in June 2019, bringing her own personal experience to the role, having cared for a close family member with dementia. Zena told us that she loves being able to advocate for her patients and ensuring they are able to make choices about the care they receive throughout their dementia journey.
How can they help you?
Emma and Zena work alongside patients and their families, supporting those who have complex needs from early diagnosis through to end of life and bereavement. By becoming involved and providing support early in diagnosis, the patient has the opportunity to have sensitive, timely conversations regarding future planning, and it helps patients to live as well and as independently as possible, and when the time comes, to die well.
A key focus of the care Emma, Zena and the Remind team provide is supporting people to remain in their preferred place of care. They also help to ensure the close connections established with loved ones continues following death, where they will then offer bereavement support.
A part of Emma and Zena’s role is to recognise that each person and family is individual and unique and each patient’s dementia manifests and progresses in different ways. Each person’s view of living well looks different, as does their view of a good death.
Emma and Zena visit patients in their own homes and regularly attend community multi-disciplinary team meetings. Emma also runs a successful “Dementia Dames” Support Group on a Saturday which supports female partners who are still working. In recognition of this, Emma has recently been awarded the Medal of the British People.
Dementia affects 1 in 14 over 65s increasing to 1 in 6 of the over 80-year olds. With increasing age also comes the risk of additional conditions developing. There are believed to be well over 1500 people diagnosed with dementia living within the city of Portsmouth. Many of these people have carers and families who will also need advice, information and possibly emotional support.
The Remind team offers support and help to address a number of issues that a dementia diagnosis can bring, such as social isolation, loneliness and boredom. Remind runs Cognitive Stimulation Therapy groups and activity sessions that both patient as well as carer can attend.