Working together for better dementia care

Working as I do with over 150 hospitals across the length and breadth of the UK – and now in the Republic of Ireland, too – I tend to spot trends in hospital dementia care as they develop. One area that’s currently showing signs of significant change is that organisations linking in and out of hospitals are starting to be much more proactive in their efforts to support the people they care for. They want to help people receive appropriate dementia care at all times, including during transitions in and out of hospital and ideally also when attending hospital outpatient appointments.

This month, I was approached by a GP practice whose patients use three local hospitals. The three hospitals are each in different Trusts, but all three Trusts are Butterfly Scheme members and the GPs wanted to know what they could do to collaborate with those hospitals so that their patients received the scheme’s care by pre-arrangement. This is something that has for some years been available via dementia support groups in certain other areas, but it was the first time a group of GPs had stepped forward to assist with advance planning of hospital dementia care.

As one of the Butterfly Scheme Leads in the area had already set up advance directives in collaboration with a group of local care homes, so that residents had smooth transitions in and out of hospital, she was very happy to liaise with the GP group.

It’s really not long ago that it was Butterfly Scheme Leads who were doing all the running to engage with other care and healthcare providers, usually having to explain why people living with dementia would benefit from advance planning for any hospital visits or stays. More and more care home managers now make contact in order to support potential hospitalisations, but it’s great to see GPs also wanting to support their patients in this way.

I warmly invite GP practices and care homes in Butterfly Scheme areas to work with their local hospital’s Butterfly Scheme Lead, so that we get nearer to the moment when appropriate dementia care routinely meets people as soon as they enter a hospital. Your collaboration will be greatly welcomed.