In starting this, my first ever blog post, I find myself surrounded by a multicoloured and somewhat dishevelled tablecloth of post-its and hand-written scribbles. All inspiration I have gathered since I offered to contribute to the “Let’s Talk about Dementia” series. The opportunity to have a virtual conversation about allied health professionals (AHPs) within acute care & dementia has led me to have many real life conversations with staff, people with dementia and carers – all of whom have shared my enthusiasm and helped me to develop my thoughts and ideas.
So, the only thing left for me to do now is start. As someone renowned for cutting a long story even longer, I have decided to follow the advice of Lewis Carroll, as he seemed to know a thing or two about writing…
“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop”
Six Things you need to know about the 10 Care Actions
- What are the 10 care actions?
To give its full title “The 10 Dementia Care Actions in Hospital” is an action plan to support and drive quality within acute general hospital care that you will find in Scotland’s 2nd National Dementia strategy.
- It’s not just a list.
The Care Actions may look like a readymade set of “to dos” but they offer and require much more than that. When talking about them with staff and service users the term “opportunity” came up time and time again and I do feel that is exactly what they are – an opportunity to ensure AHPs are realising their potential when it comes to dementia care. Targeting their knowledge and skills where it matters most to have a positive impact on the journey of care for people with dementia within acute general hospitals and evidencing that impact against patient experience and outcomes (action 10)
- They’re about acute general hospital care but not just for acute general hospital care
We all know dementia is everybody’s business and the Care Actions are no different. They challenge us to plan and prepare for admission and discharge (action 3) and to develop and embed person-centred assessment and care planning (action 4). People with dementia come into acute general hospitals for the same reasons as people without dementia – because of physical illness or injury. It is just one step in a much bigger journey. The Care Actions provide a framework to help us to build on AHPs’ existing skills in admission/discharge planning and task us to take a truly person-centred approach; ensuring the transitions between home and hospital are the best that we can deliver. That requires partnership working with communities in the widest sense of both terms – and makes these actions relevant to everyone involved in that “bigger journey”.
- They are about building on achievements
The 10 Care Actions aim to maximise on the impact of initiatives such as the Standards of Care for Dementia and the Promoting Excellence Framework. They acknowledge that there have been huge achievements to date. As an AHP working within acute general hospitals, I think it’s really important that we take a moment to reflect on that and recognise all the hard work and effort.
- It is already happening!
As I said earlier, we aren’t starting from scratch. There are some fantastic initiatives out there and AHPs are taking the lead in many areas. Therapeutic gardens are being used to provide proactive approaches to managing stress and distress. AHPs are working within A&E departments to prevent unnecessary admissions. Those are just two examples and lead me nicely on to…
- The 10 Care Actions need to be embedded into practice
This is about transformational change and for that to happen, we need to embrace and embed the 10 Care Actions. For AHPs, I think we are in a fortunate position as there is a clear “fit” between the values they express and the rehabilitation and reablement approaches which are at the very heart of our practice.
If you’re an AHP working with people with dementia in an acute hospital setting, you are not expected to do this alone. Join our community of practice, you will find us at http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/dementia/communities-of-practice/national-ahps-best-practice-in-dementia-network.aspx
If you have been in an acute general hospital setting and have come across an allied health professional, I would love to hear from you and for you to tell me what you think about my first blog post and how the 10 key actions relate to you.
AHP Consultant, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Christine studied Occupational Therapy in Glasgow. After graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree, she began working as a Basic Grade OT within a busy acute hospital. Since then, Christine has worked in a range of clinical areas including adult community mental health, acquired brain injury & addictions and most recently was employed as a Practice Development Head OT within Glasgow’s North East mental health services (adult & over 65’s). Christine has been on secondment as an AHP Dementia Consultant since August 2010, with a particular focus on the care of people with dementia within acute hospital settings.