New dementia tool to be rolled out in Derry

Mark H Durkan.
Mark H Durkan.

A new dementia assessment tool designed to encourage a more humane and understanding approach to the condition is to be rolled out in the Western Trust later this year.

Last month Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan wrote to the local authority asking that a new ‘Look At All of Me’ tool, designed by clinical psychologist Dr. Frances Duffy and already in use across the Northern Trust, be employed here as well.

Niall Birthistle, the Western Trust’s Acting Chairman, has now written to the SDLP representative confirming staff will be trained in use of the new resource this autumn.

Mr. Durkan said: “I welcome the fact that the Trust has responded positively to my suggestion that they adopt this new tool to assist in the care of those suffering with dementia.

“Dementia is a massive and growing problem facing society and it is imperative that every effort is made to make life easier for those with dementia and provide support for their carers.”

The new tool is aimed at avoiding labelling and the dehumanisation of people suffering the illness, and improving their care.

Mr. Birthistle confirmed the Western Trust’s Dementia Complex Behaviour Team is already using a very similar approach to that used within the Northern Trust.

A specialised Complex Behaviour Team, for example, has been working closely with families and staff in nursing homes and residential homes since 2010.

Mr. Birthistle wrote: “Whilst staff within the Western Trust are already using a very similar approach, training on the Northern Trust’s CLEAR Dementia Care model and the use of the dementia tool is taking place for Western Trust staff in the autumn.

“The Northern Trust tool is a simpler and quicker method of assessment for care home staff. The Western Trust is looking forward to implementing the model and tool into local care homes.”