What is a dementia coordinator anyway?
Having worked in dementia services for over 10 years, I have long been flying the flag for everyone living with dementia having access to a named person to support them. Someone who can help guide them through their life with the condition, what benefits and support they are entitled to and help them understand what their diagnosis will mean for them and their families. This is a National Institute for Care Excellence recommendation, but has never been possible in Kent and Medway, until now.
Imagine realising you cannot remember something as important as your new grandchild’s name and when you tell your doctor you then have an agonising wait to get to specialist services. You don’t know what the appointment will entail or what is waiting for you on the other side.
Or just finding out you have dementia and thinking life is over, will you be able to drive, can you go out on your own, what happens if you forget your wife’s name? Who can answer your questions?
And what if you have been doing quite well for a few years since your diagnosis but now you are struggling to look after yourself and your home. Who can help, do you need to see your GP and will they send you for more tests?
For too long people affected by dementia have had to muddle through these questions and many more. Once they have been diagnosed, they have to find a way to carry on after being given an earth-shattering diagnosis. But thankfully Dementia Coordinators are now available to support people throughout their experience of dementia.
There will soon be 42 Dementia Coordinators working across Kent, which is totally going to change the landscape for people living with and their families. 25 of them will be working for ADSS across North and West Kent and another 17 will be based in East Kent.
So what do they do?
Each Dementia Coordinator will work within a Primary Care Network (PCN), which is essentially a cluster of GP surgeries. They will be a key part of the of the dementia pathway and support from before diagnosis to the end of a person’s life.
Dementia Coordinators will use our person-centred model of care to really get to know the person and what matters to them, they will then work with them to create a support plan. This is not just about signposting, this is about taking real meaningful action to empower the person living with dementia and their families to get what they want out of life. At ADSS we are passionate that with the right support people living with dementia can lead fulfilling, active, involved lives and the Dementia Coordinators are here to help them get that support.
Dementia Coordinators will work with a whole host of professionals in Memory Clinics, GP surgeries, Social Prescribing services, other charities, social services, carers services etc. They will help demystify what all these people do and help the person navigate the complex health and social care system. They will also work with Post Diagnostic Support Services, to help people understand the benefits of getting out and about and staying active. Our Dementia Coordinators will reassure people living with dementia that everyone feels nervous at first and tell them about the great friendships they might make.
If you have dementia what matters to you will matter to your Dementia Coordinator. If you would like to get in contact with a Dementia Coordinator, contact 0800 035 2221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org