Minister visits programme to improve care for people with dementia

1. From left, Director Older People Mental Health, Estelle Frost, Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow, Oatleigh Manager Rishi Jawaheer
From left, Director Older People Mental Health, Estelle Frost, Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow, Oatleigh Manager Rishi Jawaheer

Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow visited Oatleigh & Oatlands Care Village in south east London recently to find out about an innovative programme for staff working with people with dementia.

2. From left, Director Older People Mental Health, Estelle Frost, Clinical Psychologist, Melanie Place, Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow, Clinical Director Older People Mental Health, Adrian Treloar, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, Oluwatoyin Sorinmade
From left, Director Older People Mental Health, Estelle Frost, Clinical Psychologist, Melanie Place, Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow, Clinical Director Older People Mental Health, Adrian Treloar, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, Oluwatoyin Sorinmade

The minister took a tour of the home on 12 January and sat in on a workshop on the programme which develops care pathways for people with dementia in care homes.

Oxleas delivers the programme into care homes through specialists from its Older People Mental Health directorate.

The care village is part of the privately owned Jawa Group and provides residential care for 56 adults over the age of 60 with mental illness and/or dementia.

 An important feature of this project is helping staff to understand signs of distress and improve their management of challenging behaviour which lessens the use of antipsychotic medication and reduces referrals to mental health services.  

Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow said: “The programme empowers care home staff to better manage difficult behaviours and has led to a reduction in the use of antipsychotic medication. This is an excellent example of organisations working together in partnership to improve care.”

The minister went on to talk about a key element of the programme which is using the person’s life history to shape their care, such as playing music reminiscent of a person’s past to alleviate symptoms of distress.

Oxleas’ Director Older People Mental Health, Estelle Frost, said: “The trust is very pleased to be leading this innovative approach to caring for people with dementia living in care homes. Our skilled mental health clinicians work with staff in the homes to help them identify and work with signs of distress or disturbance in their residents, so avoiding inappropriate use of antipsychotic medicines or hospital admissions. Thanks go to the Bromley BSU (PCT) and Bromley Council for backing and funding the scheme and giving us the opportunity to develop the project."

Oatleigh’s Registered Manager, Roy Jawaheer, said: “We are proud to welcome Mr Burstow and the Oxleas team to our home. My wife Sherine and I established the very first specialist dementia care home in the borough of Bromley and our focus has always been on providing a service for vulnerable adults, to champion and promote dignity in care."

Published on 13th January 2012