As you know, the Butterfly Scheme is a specific dementia care approach delivered by healthcare teams to support people living with dementia (or simply needing memory support) – and at the same time it respects and appreciates their usual carer. Why is it only available for use by healthcare teams? That’s because healthcare teams often need to pick up care at a time of illness, yet without the backdrop of knowing that person well – whilst the person needing care has temporarily lost their usual environment and routine, making this time especially challenging for them.

What’s been very noticeable in the last couple of years is the growing number of care homes, extra-care organisations and GP practices wanting to do all they can to ensure that their residents and patients are aware of the scheme before they ever need it. Where possible, they want to support those people – and their advocates, where applicable – to make their wish to use the scheme clear, so that if hospitalisation is suddenly needed there’s no gap in appropriate care.

In addition, these organisations often assist people in filling in the local hospital’s carer sheet, providing healthcare teams with all that valuable information which enables person-centred care. Yes, it may need a tweak at the time of activation, but again avoiding gaps in person-centred care by being prepared.
In some cases, it’s now even possible to register with the local hospital in advance, so that the person’s care needs and wishes are flagged from the very first moment they enter hospital. We all know how stressful A and E can be for a person living with dementia, so this is a significant help.

It’s great to see community-based organisations recognising and embracing what they can do to facilitate the smoothest possible transitions into and from hospital care, whilst helping to minimise the period during which that person needs to stay in hospital or receive community healthcare at home. Thank you to all who are part of this great teamwork.