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Dignity in Dementia Training Wins NHS Award

A service funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, Peter McCall, has received an award at the NHS England Northern Lights Dementia Awards.

The Dignity in Dementia Programme: ‘Reducing Police Call-Outs Involving People With Dementia’ received the runner-up award in the ‘Living Well’ category of the awards ceremony, held on 30 March in Manchester.

Last year, after a short pilot of the programme, the Police & Crime Commissioner issued a two year contract to roll the scheme out across the county,   and training has now been delivered to the majority of front line uniformed officers, including the main control room at Penrith, who deal with calls or attend to deal with incidents involving people with dementia reported missing or otherwise found in distress.

Speaking of the award, Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said:

“I’m delighted that the Dignity in Dementia team have received this award. The project continues to help people to live well with dementia to be safe and more supported in their communities. This work directly contributes to the Police and Crime Plan objective to make Cumbria even safer, at the same time reducing the demand on ever more stretched police resources.

“I recently attended one of their training sessions for officers in the north of the county, and was very impressed. The session offered some really practical guidance for front-line staff to enable them to deal more effectively with people with dementia in crisis on our streets, which can only be a good thing, for all involved.” 

Directors of Dignity in Dementia, Lesley Gill and Diane Smillie said: “Police can feel ill-equipped to deal with calls involving people with dementia and may inadvertently make a difficult situation more stressful for the individual they hope to help, and themselves. The first objective of the project is to support police officers and PCSOs to become more skilled when responding to these call-outs, so that the individuals with dementia, as well as the officers, have a more positive experience. We then go on to help individuals and families cope better at home.”

As part of the work, after the police gain the family’s consent to pass on their details, Dignity in Dementia go on to deliver an Emotional Trigger Assessment Service.

The Dignity in Dementia team visit the person with dementia and their main carer and through in-depth personal history work and observation, they aim to identify unmet needs and find the trigger for the ‘unusual’ behaviour that led to police involvement, before setting strategies to reduce or prevent the behaviour reoccurring. 

More information can be found on their website is www.dignityindementia.org

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