On Friday I was at Leeds at an event called ‘Across the Pennines’ – The Dementia Quality Improvement awards. I’d been asked some time ago by Penny Kirk, Quality Improvement Manager for the Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Networks, to be on the judging panel. During the last few months we’d been shortlisting the finalists. On Friday the 5 outstanding finalists had to deliver a 10 minute presentation before the winner was announced.
For the last two years, these Awards have only been open to healthcare professionals from Yorkshire & Humber. However this year they joined up with others in Greater in Greater Manchester, Lancashire & South Cumbria to run the “Across the Pennines” awards. I’d seen some interesting initiatives along the process so was keen to see who the final 5 were….
I hadn’t heard of the venue before but Penny sent me a great link to a short video that I could follow on my phone. It was literally someone walking the route and it actually stopped and put words on the screen when you had to turn into another street. It was very reassuring as I could see the building around me on the screen and pause if it got ahead of me – genius – all venues close to stations should have one!
No sunshine like the day before in Bradford today. It was back to cold and murky.
The support officer, Sarah Hope had sorted out my train tickets so they had a brownie point immediately.
Steve Poole – Chair of the Dementia Action Alliance started the event by talking about the need for collaboration.
Next were 4 showcases which demonstrated the work done in 4 areas of the Dementia Action Alliance.
First was Lancashire – ‘We need to make sure we’re doing what people with dementia want us to do and not what they think we want them to do” Blackpool Tower will be lit up in blue and gold during Dementia Awareness week – brilliant!
Next up was Oldham DAA – they have created a resource pack in line with the national curriculums to engage children.
Their work with BAME communities was around ‘going out to the community instead of the community coming to them’. ’Members tailor their needs around their cultures’
Next up was a project from South Yorkshire DAA around their Dementia fire and Home safety project. They have 4 DAA working together which is another model of collaboration and seems to work well in this area.
Tim Kirkup from Scarborough spoke about the challenges faced when trying to establish the DAA in a new area.
It was then tea break before the QI awards presentations by the finalists.
Oliver Corrado, geriatrician from Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust was chair of us judges and introduced the first finalists.
What struck me was the diversity of the 5 finalists
NAViGO Home from Home Team – a specialist unit for people with dementia in North East Lincolnshire which is an alternative to hospital admission.
Making Space – a National Charity which provides Dementia services. They said they’re very involved with DEEP but they’ve not fixed themselves on my radar I don’t think….
Brain imaging service in Leeds for patients with harder to diagnose dementia – e.g. Young Onset
Lewy Body Information and Support Group in Stockport
Improving Care Pathway in Kirklees
The one outstanding one for me was the Imaging. They proved what everyone knows already, in so far as there is a huge north south divide. They proved what a post code lottery dementia diagnosis is. But most of all they’ve proved that the technology is there for more accurate diagnosis. Leeds is the only centre in the north that can perform this type of brain imaging – it’s open to all to be referred from Yorkshire and Humber, yet few clinicians know of it’s existence, or they refer locally to a service that doesn’t have the right resources or expertise and then wonder why people are misdiagnosed. For people with possible young onset it is the only place they should be referred. People could be told they have dementia when they don’t or told they don’t have when they do.
Either way, it has a life changing effect. Not to be diagnosed when you do have dementia leads to confusion over the cause of the symptoms and more misdiagnosis and prevents you from getting the right support. To be incorrectly told you do have dementia when you don’t leads to people accessing services that are inappropriate for them.
At least this imaging gives hope for more accurate diagnosis in the future if only it could be rolled out further. Yes, it is expensive but then so is living with dementia.
We, as the judges, compared notes after we’d filled up on a very nice lunch. We realised how difficult it was to compare the science of imaging with the practicalities of social initiatives. It was because of this that we voted for a joint winner and a runner up.
Runner up was Lewy Body Information and Support Group
Joint winners were Home from Home – initiative that provides an alternative to hospital care
And the Imaging team from Leeds.
I had to leave before the end, namely because my brain has stopped working but also because if I missed that train I would miss my last bus back to the village……
Some people ask me why I go to such events. Well mainly so I know what’s going on and what I’m missing, simple as that. Sadly everything seems to be going on in other areas………back to post code lottery debate and events such as this just emphasise that point…and I appear to live in an even worse postcode now I’ve moved……😏