St Barnabas House Tackles Dementia Stigma

Lucy Ashton, Community Companions Co-ordinator at St Barnabas House, is running a free ‘Dementia Friends’ information session on Monday 15 January 2018 and is looking for local people to come along.

Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

The one-hour session will take place at St Barnabas House at 11.30am.

There are currently 850,000 people living with the condition in England. The number of people with a known diagnosis of dementia in West Sussex is 13,000, although estimated numbers are far higher.

Having volunteered to be a Dementia Friends Champion, Lucy is now delivering Dementia Friends sessions to people across Worthing.

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She said: “I signed up to be a Dementia Friends Champion because I am passionate about changing people’s perceptions of dementia. It’s easy to get involved. I attended a training course, receive ongoing support and I’m now proud to be part of a growing network of people creating dementia friendly communities together.”

Anyone wanting to attend the Dementia Friends session should contact Lucy Ashton, lucy.ashton@stbh.org.uk or 01903 706359.

People can also get involved in Dementia Friends through an online video. Go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more.

Since recruiting a Dementia Lead Nurse in April 2016, St Barnabas House has been adapting its services in order to better support patients who have a diagnosis of dementia.

The hospice has focused on enhancing the care and support to patients with dementia and their family and carers through training for all hospice staff who provide clinical care.

A significant element to the project has been ensuring the hospice environment is better suited for people with cognitive impairment, as well as education and training for hospice staff, volunteers and healthcare professionals.

Lucy has worked closely with the Dementia Lead Nurse to set up a dementia-focused befriending service called ‘Dementia Companions’, an offshoot of the hospice’s Community Companions programme.

Dementia Companions are volunteer who receive specific training and regular supervision to provide 12 weeks of befriending services to patients or carers with moderate to severe cognitive impairment.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering as a Dementia Companion, please contact Lucy on lucy.ashton@stbh.org.uk or 01903 706359.

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