Last Thursday saw me at Humber Trust Headquarters for a meeting with ‘Positive Assets’. Janet Woodhouse(Nurse Consultant), who I’ve been involved with at East Riding Community Hospital, asked if I’d meet with Rachel from the Positive Assets team. Rachel is a Senior mental Health Employment support officer.
The aim of the meeting was to highlight the need to include people with a diagnosis of dementia or suspected dementia and Family supporters in this service. Previously only those with a mental health issue had been involved and Janet and Rachel are now committed to equality of access for people living with dementia, who are of working age, and their supporters.
The day started off with Janet kindly picking me up from the village. I got in the car, and my first comment was ‘I havn’t a clue why we’re meeting today………..’ Ha!😳 I just couldn’t remember the conversation we’d had about why the meeting was going ahead😊 Janet laughed and firstly suggested it be a surprise but then thought better of it and filled me in🙄
We arrived at Trust Headquarters to be met by a lovely smiley Rachel, who immediately asked if we’d like a cuppa…….obviously an instant connection was made😊
Rachel admitted that she knew very little about dementia and those of working age and we chatted for what seemed like ages about the very different needs of people with Young onset and how they should be supported to remain in employment for as long as they wished.
The Trust has signed up to the national Dementia Friendly Hospital Charter which includes the need to encourage reasonable adjustments to enable people with dementia to remain in work; combatting stigma in the workplace and to consider options for those supporting someone living with dementia to juggle work and their caring responsibilities.
Janet provided Rachel with links to the toolkit so that already exist for those with dementia and I provided the link that a wonderful video I came across on you tube which is simple yet very effective.
We ran through possible ways to collaborate with others in the area – working together to use resources effectively is the only way when finances are short……
Rachel was full of enthusiasm and energy to match mine and Janet’s so me thinks something will materialise.
Positive Assets has been around within Humber for 12 years and may other areas across the country have designed similar services based on the work done by this wonderful team. However, when I say ‘team’, I’m talking about 4 people. Sadly, as is usual, funding is an issue, and this service only serves those living in Hull who are accessing secondary mental health services. But what a wonderful service – one which not only helps people with mental health issues find work, but supports them when in employment.
If only something like this had been around when I was diagnosed, maybe retirement wouldn’t have been my only option…………