North Yorkshire is taking a lead in tackling dementia by appointing dementia champions to help improve the quality of care and support and outcomes for people living with the condition and their families.
There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, a figure which is expected to double over the next 25 years with a tripling of costs to tens of billions of pounds.
However, despite rising numbers, public understanding of the condition is limited and full of misconceptions leading to further difficulties for people with dementia and their families and spiralling costs. If the current extent of diagnosis remains unchanged, up to half of people will not have had their condition identified
The North Yorkshire and York Dementia strategy aims to improve the experience of people with dementia as they access statutory, voluntary and independent sector agencies, by enhancing the skills of the whole workforce.
The Champions Programme, which has been piloted by North Yorkshire County Council’s Health and Adult Services, is a key part of this strategy. It is designed to ensure that everyone working directly with the public is able to deal effectively with people living with dementia. The pilot represents an excellent example of innovative practice across care settings and further afield and will now be extended to include teams across a range of services, whether they are health, social care, or third sector workers.
Dementia Champions are trained to lead by example, model good practice and challenge poor practice and promote understanding in supporting people with dementia as well as identifying barriers to improving their quality of life.
Today the county council carried out an awards ceremony at the Galtres Centre, Easingwold, for the 60 workers in its health and adult services that have reached level three in the nationally accredited ‘awareness of dementia’ award.
County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Services said: “We are hugely encouraged by the number of staff wishing to become involved in our Dementia Champions programme and I congratulate the people who are receiving their awards today. This shows that North Yorkshire is determined to move forward in improving the everyday lives of people living with dementia.”