A new, life-changing service has been launched for Birmingham people affected by dementia.
NHS Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is funding a support service for patients with dementia, together with their families and carers.
Alzheimer’s Society is providing the Dementia Support Service, which includes information, advice and signposting for patients in the CCG’s area who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Being diagnosed with dementia can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. The aim of the new service is to help people to maintain their independence and improve their sense of wellbeing.
Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia support workers help people take control of their lives and make sense of what is happening. Patients are usually visited in their own homes, but can be seen at any mutually agreed venue.
After ‘John’ was diagnosed with dementia, his GP referred him to speak to Francis, a dementia support worker with the Society. Francis helped him to make sense of what was happening, understand what would come next and plan to get the most out of life; to live well with dementia for as long as possible.
Staff support carers if patients experience a crisis and work with them to help them avoid further problems.
The service also gives patients and carers practical advice on issues such as understanding benefits and getting their financial affairs in order.
Dr Aqil Chaudary, Clinical Lead for mental health at Birmingham CrossCity CCG, said: “Dementia can happen to anyone and there's currently no cure. At least 700 people are diagnosed with dementia in the CCG’s area every year, and we know many more are living with the disease but haven’t been diagnosed.
“A diagnosis of dementia shouldn't stop people being in control of their lives or doing many of the things they enjoy. They should be supported to remain independent, active and engaged, and fully involved in making decisions and choices for themselves, for as long as they can. This is why we’re pleased to be able to commission the Dementia Support service from Alzheimer’s Society.
“If people are worried that they or someone close to them may have dementia, it's important to talk about it with their GP. The sooner we can diagnose it, the sooner people can get the support they need to help them live with the condition.”
Steve Hayward, Services Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Birmingham, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching this new Dementia Support service with Birmingham CrossCity CCG. From understanding benefits, to how dementia progresses, and the importance of getting your financial affairs in order – Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia advisers and dementia support workers will help signpost people to the support services available.
“It really does make all the difference for people with dementia, and their carers, to have that go-to person along their journey with the condition.”