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United in a quest to improve dementia care

Tagged In:  Mental Health

Innovative therapies, action groups, roadshows and assistive technology research are just some of the ideas and activities being inspired and supported by Dementia United, Greater Manchester's ground-breaking care and support transformation programme.

Could Greater Manchester become the best place in the world to live for people with dementia? That's the aim of Dementia United, an initiative that brings together over 40 local partners, including mental health trusts, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), charities, sports organisations and universities.

"Dementia United will be an extremely ambitious transformation programme, which will work over the next 5 years to improve the lived experience for people affected by dementia, and reduce dependence on the health and social care system," said Dementia United lead Professor Maxine Power. "At present the five year strategy for Dementia United is being developed. To make this the best it can possibly be, we are working with experts from all walks of life across greater Manchester, from clinicians, to academics, care providers to charities, and most importantly people with dementia and carers."

One of the key players in Dementia United is Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. The hospital is leading the way in dementia care with state-of-the-art facilities including a Dementia Courtyard and a 'pop-up' pub-style reminiscence pod (see this previous post), both of which provide calming environments for patients and carers. Nurses and other staff on the Elderly Care Dementia Ward are on a continual improvement project to ensure the facilities they offer patients are dementia friendly.

There are more than 850,000 people with dementia in the UK today, and it's estimated that over 30,000 of them live in Greater Manchester. Care is currently inconsistent across the metropolitan county, and many people have to navigate a complex web of support services, or end up staying in hospital longer than they need to. 

Dementia United's ambitions go much further than improving the hospital environment for dementia patients. New decision making powers were given to Greater Manchester in April this year as part of the Government's historic devolution agreement, providing the opportunity to radically change the way dementia care is delivered. Working with leading local commissioners, experts and influencers, including The University of Salford’s Institute for Dementia and MediaCityUK, it is committed to revolutionising the experiences of people affected by dementia by creating entirely new models of care based on a more joined-up approach.

"It is incredibly ambitious, seeking to change the commissioning of services and provision of care while also testing new care models, " commented Salford Royal CEO Sir David Dalton. "It will support people to live full, active and meaningful lives."

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