As you may imagine, a certain amount of staff turnover is always going to take place in any hospital, but the changes during the past twenty months have been far, far greater than usual – and in some cases continue. As I’ve mentioned before, dedicated dementia care teams have often been fragmented as staff were deployed into different roles, supporting whichever area was most in need because of the pandemic. 

Some team leaders have found new passions because of their recent experiences, including one long-term Lead I know transferring permanently into ICU! Most, though, have returned with a huge sigh of relief into the dementia care roles they love and treasure now more than ever before. Some people have left the profession altogether, albeit mainly through retirement, but their replacements are picking up the pieces amongst teams that need new Dementia Champions and specific training for staff who haven’t had that training before – a challenging situation. Even now, some Dementia Leads are having to fulfil other roles and still don’t know when they can return to their teams.

There are many stories of whole teams having had to stay on their ward, even though the ward itself was being used for something entirely different from normal – a fact which has sometimes frustrated and distressed them, yet must have needed to happen in order to cope with the extreme pressure of the pandemic – but it’s to be hoped that those with the greatest dementia care skills can soon return to teams where their skills are most useful. One way or another, this is still very much a time of catch-up. 

Shining through, though, is the dedication and determination of so many teams to do all they can for families affected by dementia. It’s been good to see how many families have acknowledged that care through letters and messages to staff; they have never been more appreciated.