National award and cash boost for dementia service

We have been awarded £35,000 this week for a new model of care for people with advanced dementia, which helps them to stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible.

The cash boost was awarded to Oxleas in the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia for its innovative Greenwich Advanced Dementia Service (GADS) which is a partnership between health, social care and the third sector.  

The service was developed by nurses and doctors working in Oxleas who work closely with partners from the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Alzheimer's Society, Greenwich Carers Centre, GPs and community health services. It aims to improve the quality of life of patients by enabling them to live in their own home with their loved ones, minimise unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital, and provide a comprehensive package of community-based support for people with dementia and their families. It focuses specifically on supporting carers to increase their resilience.

Before the service was developed, people with advanced dementia tended to be cared for in a care home, often spending time in hospital.

Dr Adrian Treloar, Oxleas Clinical Director Older People's Mental Health Services was inspired to take a different approach by one man's fight to care for his wife at home. He said: "The impetus came from an understanding that people actually wanted to look after their loved ones at home. All a lot of families want is for their loved ones to be pain free, comfortable and in their own home. We recognised that increasing carer resilience was the answer to achieving this and developed a service with this aim in mind."

To date GADS has supported over 100 people to live and die in their own homes and is saving up to £265,000 a year on reduced care home costs and hospital admissions. A recent audit of 48 consecutive deaths of people with dementia under the care of the GADS team showed that 77% died at home and the remaining 23% needed only a brief hospital admission at the very end of life.

Director of Older People's Mental Health Services, Estelle Frost, said: "We are very excited to receive this award. It is proof that the work we are doing to improve the quality of life of people with advanced dementia is working. The prize money will be used to continue to develop the service and to share what we have learnt from it."

The NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia is part of the NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes Programme and the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge. The Dementia Challenge, run in collaboration with Janssen Healthcare Innovation (JHI), was set up this year to identify and reward innovative, integrated approaches to dementia, one of the biggest healthcare problems the NHS and UK society face today. 

Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia, NHS England, said: "All of our finalists demonstrate innovative ways of providing integrated dementia care that improves things for patients and uses resources efficiently. Most encouragingly they are sustainable models for dementia care with the potential to spread more widely across the NHS, making a difference to the lives of thousands more people and helping us tackle one of the major health issues we face today."

For further information about the NHS Innovation Challenges go to: www.england.nhs.uk/challengeprizes

Published on 28th November 2013