I rarely report on individual Butterfly Scheme launch events, because they’re always enjoyable occasions and we always meet such dedicated teams. This month, though, I’d like to reflect on one particular launch event – for four relatively small units at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS FT. No hospitals in Northamptonshire have ever had the Butterfly Scheme (some do use other butterfly symbols, but not the scheme), so it’s especially good to be working with this team.

Stemming from the passion demonstrated by one particular nurse, the Trust worked towards adopting the scheme and carefully planned its launch. The achievement of attaining approximately 60% attendance across the whole team really starts to tell you something about their dedication.

It’s always good to see someone’s baked for the occasion on a Butterfly theme – great biscuits here! – but this was only one of many individual pieces of evidence that the team really embraced the arrival of the scheme. On the second day, one matron brought flowers, just because she’d been so appreciative of the previous day’s sessions – a personal gesture, but one which spoke volumes.

There were three stand-out interactions which also, I feel, told a story. One of them had me rather worried: a team member came to me at the end of a session, frustrated and seemingly quite cross. She was upset because she wanted an evaluation sheet and there wasn’t one, so I urged her to report any concerns to the Dementia Lead, also asking if she’d mind telling me what was troubling her. At this, her tears came – and they were because she wanted the chance to write down how brilliant she’d found the session! Phew! Not being a commercial organisation, we don’t collate feedback to use for ourselves, although we have such a good link with each member organisation that those lines of communication are always open – but it was lovely to see someone so passionate, especially as she had a parent with dementia.

Another colleague also raised a question about evaluation, but this time based on the information in carer sheets. In these days of so much being evaluation-based, the concept of person-centred care, based on known and observed preferences and needs, initially worried him, because he felt every statement in the carer sheet would need to be fully checked out before being applied. Once he understood that carer experience and the observations of colleagues were absolutely valid in styling person-centred care, all was fine – but an interesting moment.

The third notable interaction was with a matron, who was especially keen to show me round her large ward. Once there, it was clear from the level of calm, happy chatter, the freshness of the air and the thoughtful decoration, that this was somewhere people living with dementia would have every opportunity to experience appropriate care. Well-placed pride indeed!

One final mention: I spotted some wonderful new badges (almost Butterfly Scheme colours!) – and how clear and helpful these badges are! Staff reported that patients now used their names much more frequently. When I tweeted about this, the first response – and a hugely positive one – was from someone living with dementia who describes himself as “a patient activist, promoting patient involvement and co-design”, so that says a lot.

Thank you again to this and every member team for all the dedication and thought you put into doing the very best you can for people living with dementia – and for their carers.