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Dementia service re-design will give each patient a dedicated nurse and navigator

PUBLISHED: 11:39 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 04 November 2019

(From left) Programme manager, Martina Agho, Acceptance and dementia support manager,Taiyaba. Picture: Holly Chant

(From left) Programme manager, Martina Agho, Acceptance and dementia support manager,Taiyaba. Picture: Holly Chant

Holly Chant

A new NHS dementia care service for City and Hackney patients launched last week, aiming to improve the way they are cared for.

Martina Agho and her team spoke to service users and carers to find out the best ways to improve services for people with dementia. The ambitious project has taken aobut a year to complete. Picture: Holly ChantMartina Agho and her team spoke to service users and carers to find out the best ways to improve services for people with dementia. The ambitious project has taken aobut a year to complete. Picture: Holly Chant

The service re-design means every patient will have a dedicated dementia nurse or navigator and was unveiled at an event on Monday.

One patient, Acceptance, told the Gazette about the day she was diagnosed.

She said: "I woke up one morning and didn't know where I was. Everything looked strange and I didn't know where I lived. I went outside and I couldn't recognize anything.

"It's a journey now - like Alice in Wonderland I'm lost."

(From left) Programme manager, Martina Agho, Acceptance and dementia support manager,Taiyaba. Picture: Holly Chant(From left) Programme manager, Martina Agho, Acceptance and dementia support manager,Taiyaba. Picture: Holly Chant

She said her memory plays tricks on her and after receiving her diagnosis she felt relief - for a long time she thought something wasn't right with her mind.

"We're playing chess, my mind, inner self and my physical body," Acceptance continued.

"That's what playing chess is all about. You get to know who you are."

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The East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) has been working with the Alzheimer's Society on the City and Hackney dementia service - re-designing, integrating and improving existing support so patients can more easily access person-centered services and life-long support.

Programme manager Martina Agho said: "The only way to make sure nobody is forgotten is to keep everybody in the service.

"Then you don't have a situation where somebody is going here, there and discharged and re-referred again - it caused a lot of problems for service users.

"At any given time we know where they are in terms of their health condition - if they're deteriorating we know.

"We're able to work with them [and] put [dynamic] plans in place to support them."

Each dedicated dementia nurse or navigator will work with GPs to support service users in their local areas.

Navigators support patients in all kinds of day to day things. They might book taxis and remind them about doctors appointments or help service users join groups and activities.

Acceptance was encouraged to join a group called Singing for the Brain.

"I look forward to it with all my heart," she said.

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