As we reach the end of this terrible year, most people will surely be longing for the COVID-19 vaccine to bring some normality back to our lives. I’m heartened to hear about more and more people who’ve already had their first jab or have an appointment for one. It’s been a very long, dark tunnel, but there’s now light at the end of it.

For hospital, hospice and other healthcare teams, of course, there’s likely to be an ongoing challenge for some time yet. My thoughts go out to all healthcare staff who are not only working in extremely challenging conditions, but who also manage to care compassionately and appropriately for everyone, whatever their needs. As usual, I’m privileged to hear about some superb care and how much that care is appreciated.

I’d again like to set out what to do if someone living with dementia has to be hospitalised over this time:

  • Ask to speak to the dementia champion on the ward; pass on any hints and tips that will help them care appropriately for the patient
  • If not reassured that the dementia care is fully supporting your loved one, ask to speak to the Dementia Lead (or, as an alternative, the Lead for Care of the Older Person) – and ask that your request is recorded in the notes; this way, there will be clarity about the depth of your concern

By delivering all relevant information to the team, you will be working in partnership to support the patient – and in doing so, supporting the staff. I do hope that this liaison and teamwork help to support and comfort carers, too, during what is a massively stressful time. 

We now have good reason to expect that 2021 will become a better year for us all – and that upturn can’t come a moment too soon.