Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust will be hosting a dementia showcase event, on 31 January 2018, at Bingley Arts Centre that will bring together healthcare professionals and keynote speakers to raise awareness and offer help and understanding of dementia.

Dementia is caused by damage to the brain by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes. It is a progressive condition, which means that it will gradually get worse over time. A diagnosis of dementia can be scary and confusing; however it is possible to live well with the illness.

Attendees will hear first-hand from the Care Trust’s Dr Russell about the diagnosis of dementia, its treatment, the services available locally to support people (and their carers), as well information on the latest dementia research findings.

Dr Russell said: “Increasing numbers of people are affected by dementia. There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK, one in 20 people over 65 will have dementia and the numbers increase to one in six people over the age of 80.  We know that these people are often vulnerable because of their condition. We already have a number of programmes in place to support people living with dementia, both with their physical and mental wellbeing. Being diagnosed is the first step to getting treatment and the key to opening up the doors to support.”

Dr Russell continued: “There is a national drive to improve diagnosis in dementia, with an ambition to achieve a diagnosis in at least 67 per cent of all cases.  In the Bradford district we are ahead of this national target, with local dementia diagnosis rates are at or above 80 per cent, amongst the highest in the country, enabling early treatment and support for the condition.”

Keynote speaker Tommy Whitelaw will speak about how his beloved mum, Joan, contracted vascular dementia, and how, for more than five years, he cared for her at her Glasgow home.  Tommy had worked for years in the music business touring the world and returned to his old Glasgow family home in 2007 to his widowed mum. Tommy had initially planned to stay for three months, but those three months became years when his mum was diagnosed with the condition. Tommy became her full-time carer. Joan passed away in September 2012, by which time she could no longer walk, talk or swallow. Tommy has made it his life’s work to achieve more support and respect for people living with dementia and will be raising awareness at the event.

The work of award-winning Dementia Assessment Unit and the difference it has made to the quality of care for local people affected by the condition will also be highlighted.  Delegates will also hear how the state-of-the-art unit at Lynfield Mount Hospital won a national gold award. The facility was given the highest accolade by the leading Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at Stirling University, for its high-quality dementia friendly design that was created with input from local carers, families and staff.

In 2016 the Care Trust launched John’s Campaign on the Dementia Assessment Unit to improve patient experience and make the Trust more dementia friendly. Carers of patients with dementia are able to visit their loved ones at the Care Trust’s specialist dementia ward; visiting times are more flexible to offer extra support and to make loved ones feel more at ease. The national campaign aims to give carers of people with dementia the right to stay with them in hospital, unrestricted by visiting hours, in the same way that parents can with poorly children in hospital.

Attendees will also hear how volunteers at the specialist unit give up their time to help make patients stay as comfortable as possible by taking part and supporting with a range of meaningful and engaging activities that include chatting and reading with patients, involving people in craft activities, gardening, dancing, quizzes, singing and reminiscence groups.

The Care Trust runs 14 weekly memory clinics across the district, held in many different GP practices and community settings across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. The clinics offer memory assessment, guidance and advice on managing memory problems and the likely causes, including anxiety, depression, or conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. The clinics also offer treatments that might help to limit or control memory problems.

As well as assessment clinics the Trust offers a range of dementia friendly services including community mental health teams, dental services and specialist day care.  Attendees will hear how the community dental service team offer a dementia friendly service to loved ones affected by dementia.  This includes ensuring that all dental clinics across the area are calm environments for the treatment of patients with dementia, simplifying signage to make it less confusing and placing clocks in waiting rooms to reassure patients with dementia.

Find out more about the support available through the Care Trust’s Dementia Assessment Unit.