Innovative teamwork in Cwm Taf enables care home residents to live well with dementia

Cwm Taf University Health Board is improving the quality of life for care home residents with dementia across Cwm Taf.  The (Care Home Dementia Intervention team), the first of its kind in Wales, provides an alternative to medication for behaviour that challenges.
The service aims to explore possible reasons why a person is distressed or behaving in a way that staff find challenging.  This enables the service to work with the care home staff to develop a person-centred care plan.
A successful pilot was held in Ty Eiren, a care home in Tonyrefail, where person-centred care plans were developed for residents with dementia and behaviour that challenges.  The plans included a variety of interventions such as reminiscence, music therapy, life story work, and doll therapy.
Fiona Senior, clinical psychologist said:  “To offer a service without medication is amazing.” 
Based in Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash, the Care Home Dementia Intervention Team are helping care home staff to increase their knowledge and confidence in being able to understand and manage challenging behaviours relating to stress and distress.
The team work closely with the person and their relatives and their aim is to enable a person to remain in the care home. A lot of time has been spent exploring the alternatives to medication in the form of a variety of psychosocial interventions which are effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of challenging behaviour and distress in addition to improving quality of life. 
“It is an innovative service – one of its kind and I feel quite passionate about it” said Rhian Hughes, assistant psychologist.
Getting to know the person, their normal routines and habits, preferences, traumatic life events and how they might have coped in the past is essential to their future wellbeing.
“It is about how they are feeling right now and what they might be thinking” said Jen Morgan, clinical psychologist.
Since the implementation of the service, 66 patients have been referred and there has been a significant decrease in mental health admissions. Rates of challenging behaviour have significantly reduced, along with carer distress and rates of well-being improved.
Davida Watkins, nurse practitioner dementia care said: “Over the past year we have captured staff attitudes towards people with dementia.  The staff are now more confident to deal with dementia issues.
“We are currently working with a limited number of care homes within Cwm Taf but are planning to widen the service in the future.”
To find out more about the service, please contact:
Phone:       01443 715 075 / 01443 715 074
Email: Davida.watkins@wales.nhs.uk


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