We are Christina and Charriss and we are the Dementia Support Coordinators for the Pilot. We have been aligned to work with Gravesend Alliance and Gravesend Central Primary Care Network Surgeries in DGS. We have been working since October 1st 2021 running up until March 2022 in the hope to win the Pilot contract.
Since starting the Pilot, we have built a rapport with the surgeries under our PCN and work with them to provide a better support network to those pre diagnosis, post diagnosis and along all stages of their journey.
We provide support to the person living with dementia and their families. We help those pre diagnosis, by supporting them to get a diagnosis, liaising with the surgery and memory clinic to start the memory pathway. We make contact within two days of receiving a referral and aim to arrange a home visit within seven days.
Due to the work that Dementia Support have already been involved with the Older Person’s Mental Health Team, we already have a good working relationship with the Memory clinic and so receive a good number of referrals in and can contact them easily to seek advice on cases open to us. We support those who have a diagnosis and those who are further along their journey by offering wellbeing calls and organising home visits when needed.
We act as a link worker between the GP surgeries and the patient and have built good relationships with those living with dementia and their families and have received good feedback about our service. We refer patients to other services and follow up the progress of these referrals and patients and families are aware they can contact us any time for support and advice.
We have worked on the dementia registers provided by the surgeries to bridge the gap with those unknown to us and to make contact and offer support.
We have also promoted our service by attending Flu and Covid Booster clinics over the last few months that the surgeries have held. This has been very effective in making our services known and also in creating referrals into our service.
We both also spend time within the surgeries, which is having a very positive effect on the success of the Pilot and proving the need for this service.
We attend monthly multi-disciplinary meetings with our surgeries, which contribute to building a good relationship with the surgeries and other providers involved in care and support.
We also work on complex cases that in some circumstances will need safeguarding’s raised and we have had to arrange emergency home visits to assess any changes and then move forward with arranging the best support available and needed. This could mean arranging emergency packages of care or liaising with social services to arrange respite.
As we are part of the Dementia Support Coordinator Team, we help cover the Helpline and other calls from the hub. We work as a team to cover any other MDT meetings outside of our PCN and cover groups when other members of the team are not available.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this role so far and are excited for the coming months to continue prove the positive impact of the Pilot.
Christina Hammond and Charriss Thorne
Dementia Support Coordinator