Co-producing Dementia Support for Shropshire

Shaping the dementia landscape in Shropshire.

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I left my sickbed yesterday to hear the first reports of our wonderful co-production project to learn what people affected by dementia in Shropshire thought about support they do receive and should receive.

I was involved in two of the six co-production meetings of the project. There were gatherings of young onset people, carers, providers, our SURP group, Shropshire Dementia Action Alliance, around the county, where people were asked simple questions.

What is working well for you? What is not? What would you like to see?

I cannot say just how the report will report. But the headlines are something like:

People want trained dementia advisers, probably working out of, though not necessarily employed by, GP practices, to support them consistently through their journey.

Carers need respite from their caring responsibilities and stresses, both regular and reliable short periods in their own homes or at peer groups, and the longer crisis driven periods, perhaps in other places.

All people affected by dementia value peer groups highly, but few exist or are readily accessible. Often these should be single sex, and carer or cared for, not both together.

People want information to be tailored to their individual needs…in the form and and at the time they need it.

Lots more dementia friendly community groups and activities that we can all join in…not groups for people with dementia! Walking/ambling, bowls, knitting, walking football, film showings, tea dances… you name it – let’s do it.

Better sharing of our information between organisations in health and care so we don’t have to keep repeating our stories.

Better quality carer assessments with real support offered when asked for and needed to prevent crisis.

And we all want more openness and honesty, less stigma, about dementia.

……..

I suppose I could say

“…told you so.” image

This is not new. It’s what research and pilots have found and evidenced.

It’s what I said at NHS Citizen last year.

(NHS what?…where?…um…)

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It’s what so many of us have been saying.

But the great thing is we now have absolute certainty that it is what people here in Shropshire who are affected by dementia say.

Commissioners at health and care (together?) can now have certainty about what is needed.

The health and wellbeing board can no longer pretend that its superficial strategy and action plan of the last two years was any more than just that. Superficial.

This is how local care for local people should be evolved. With the people, by the people, for the people.

Let’s hope that this low cost, co-productive project, admirably led by our local Healthwatch Shropshire, will be the model for future service development for all sorts of care. Diabetes, IBS, COPD…

Incidentally, thanks to Public Health for funding this project. No one else would! Commissioners? Nah.

It’s all about individualising and personalising care and support. Providing a range of services and support, through a range of providers, that are easily accessible (and known about) by those who need them when they need them.

That is the future of health and social care.

Support when you need it, to enable you to live well with your conditions.

Then we can disinvest from expensive acute care because we won’t be visiting hospitals as often, or lying in their beds deteriorating while they scrabble around for expensive care and support packages that they think we need.

See the big picture. Be creative. Use the voluntary sector. Create a range of social prescribing type support for self support and wellbeing.

A social model of care.

Demedicalised.

This is just the start.

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