This project aims to build on work developed in a NIHR-funded research project – WHELD – to improve the wellbeing and health of people with dementia living in care homes. The study has shown that combining a person-centred care approach with social interventions and antipsychotic review is effective in reducing mortality and can improve quality of life for residents.
A high proportion (60-80%) of people living in care homes have dementia and they may also have coexisting mental and physical health needs. Recognition of this full range of complex needs can be difficult for the workforce in care homes, and the training and support approaches used in the WHELD programme have demonstrated effectiveness in helping staff to recognise needs and provide tailored care which impacts on residents’ health and wellbeing.
The Dementia Clinical Network has established a good practice network open to in-reach teams to support their use of evidence-based approaches. So far two workshops have been held and teams have identified projects they would like to take forward and feed back to the group. Both workshops had a CPD element. Dr Jane Fossey, Associate Director of Psychological Services at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT), talked about learning points from WHELD, and Jackie Kent, a pharmacist from Buckinghamshire, presented on management of diabetes in care homes. Projects identified by the teams include establishing a system where pain is routinely assessed, training and supporting dementia champions within care homes, and improving oral care for residents in care homes.
The best practice network is being facilitated by Lucy Garrod (Research therapist) and Dr Jane Fossey (see above), both from OHFT.