Just as even I was starting to accept that dementia care might not be up to the usual standard because of the pressures of the pandemic, I spotted this Tweet from a ward manager at a member hospital: “It’s been a tough old week for my team, but as always they rise to the challenge, unite in strength and continue to provide excellent personalised, compassionate care to all our patients #weloveelderlycare”.

That passion is fabulous but also, in its way, a problem – a problem for the staff, rather than for patients and families; it simply goes completely against their commitment to dementia care to deliver anything below the best, so any slip in standard would add to their already high stress levels. The beautiful thing is that when excellent dementia care becomes completely embedded, it’s easier to deliver that excellent care than to deliver anything less; a happy patient with dementia is far easier to care for than a distressed or agitated patient with dementia, so getting that care right is best for everyone.

Bear in mind, though, that a lot of hospital staff are displaced at the moment. Healthcare professionals who’ve dedicated their career to delivering and improving dementia care have been moved into other leadership roles during the pandemic and that can be extremely stressful for them – not only trying to rise to the challenge of their temporary role, but also missing the role they’re so passionate about. Add to that the fact that staff who may never have been especially involved in dementia care may have been redeployed into a role that requires them to deliver that care all the time – and suddenly there’s a double whammy: staff trying to learn how to deliver dementia care, alongside staff who are having to try to enlighten them whilst already at full stretch.

Years ago, when I was determined that dementia care insight and skills should be acquired by whole teams, not just elderly care teams, there was a great deal of scepticism – yet any member of healthcare staff can find themselves dealing with people needing dementia care, and this pandemic has underlined that fact. Bear in mind, too, that delirium care has a very similar approach – and you’ll realise that those skills must surely be proving invaluable as patients with Covid are nursed though their illness.

I’ve noticed during recent weeks how many Dementia Care Leads have been making frequent use of the quick-start learning materials from the Butterfly Scheme – obviously skilling up their changed teams in order to deliver the best care they can during Covid. I wonder whether you find that as humbling as I do?