Lincolnshire’s hospitals want to work with carers to improve dementia care

Carers of people with dementia are being called to work alongside Lincolnshire’s hospitals to help make sure services are they best they can be.

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Following on from the success of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s valued and established Patient Panel, it hopes to create something similar to benefit from the experience of carers in developing services.

The Patient Panel started in September 2020 and now has over 30 members who help by giving their thoughts, ideas, comments and views on various aspects of care and service delivery at the Trust. Their contributions are invaluable and respected by staff from all of the Trust’s sites including Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital, County Hospital Louth and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

As part of the Trust’s ongoing ambition to involve and engage with patients, smaller expert groups related to specific care or conditions are being developed. These will run in a similar way to the Patient Panel.

ULHT’s Safeguarding Specialist for Dementia, Zoe Chapman, said: “We want to give those who care for loved ones with dementia a voice to help shape and improve our services. As it is Dementia Action Week 2022, we thought it would be a great time to launch our appeal.

“We are looking to develop our dementia services and improve the experiences of both patients and carers. Nationally, one in four acute hospital beds is occupied with someone who has dementia. Being in hospital can be distressing and confusing for anyone, but having dementia can make this even worse – both as a patient and for those who provide invaluable support.

“This is why we want to establish an Expert Reference Group (ERG) of people who have lived experience of dementia, who can share their insights and experiences. There is no doubt that if you have lived with or through an experience then you are an expert much more than others who have not.”

The Trust is looking for around 15 people who care (or have recently cared) for someone living with dementia to come together to form this group. They will then be able to:

  • Listen to staff who design and deliver services, make suggestions and contribute from their expert perspective as a carer who has experienced such services.
  • Collectively influence and act as a representative group that can be called upon to contribute to debate and discussion about dementia care within the Trust’s hospitals.
  • Bring valuable and unique lived experience into a group of others so that together a varied and inclusive view can be sought.

Meetings will be every two months lasting two hours and will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams.

Zoe added: “We want to hear our carers’ voices. We want you to work with us to let your lived experience help us to be the best we can possibly be, we want to listen and learn from your experiences.”

Anyone who is interested or would like more information should email [email protected]