THE Welsh Ambulance Service’s work with the dementia community is being celebrated in a new documentary series which explores the ground-breaking advances being made to help people with the disease.
Hope in the Age of Dementia examines how the Trust has enlisted the support of people with dementia to help shape and deliver training across the workforce.
The programme, a joint venture by the ITN Productions and Alzheimer’s Disease International, also hears from leaders in the field of neuroscience, research and drug discovery.
Alison Johnstone, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Programme Manager for Dementia, said: “For people living with dementia, using an ambulance – whether it’s for an emergency or a planned trip – can often be a stressful experience.
“We’re really trying to understand the needs of people living with dementia so that we can strengthen and improve our services in future.
“What’s been wonderful is that people living with dementia are involved in that work and are front and centre delivering that training with us, and for us.”
People with dementia have also been invited into the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centres to see how 999 calls are triaged, as well as to ambulance stations to offer a view on how dementia-friendly they find the vehicles, equipment and uniforms.
Linda Willis, of Newport, who was diagnosed with dementia aged 61, has been among those involved in the work.
“It’s given me such a confidence boost, I can’t praise the ambulance service enough,” she said.
“They actually listen to what people with dementia want and need from the service, and have delivered it, and that means so much.”
Dementia affects more than 50 million people worldwide and this number is expected to more than triple by 2050.
Funding from the Welsh Government has helped make much of the Trust’s work a reality.
Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service’s innovative work to improve the experiences of people living with dementia exemplifies the aims set out in our Dementia Action Plan for Wales, recognising the different ways in which people living with dementia require support.
“This co-productive approach to developing and delivering training shows the value of listening to people living with dementia and rightly ensures services are person-centred.”
Claire Roche, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, added: “Knowing how to recognise dementia and respond appropriately can make all the difference to a patient’s support, care and treatment.
“That’s why we’re so committed to hearing first-hand about their experience so that we can make our services even better for them.
“This programme is an incredible opportunity for the Welsh Ambulance Service to showcase our dementia work and promote the exciting dementia programme we have in Wales.”
Hope in the Age of Dementia can be viewed here.