Our challenge:  

To support patients living with dementia and their carers to access services and support on offer, whilst making them more aware of their condition.

How we tackled it:

The Oldham Dementia Action Alliance is made up of organisations across Oldham, working together to radically improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers.

Together with Pennine Care NHS Trust Foundation, Oldham Council, Age UK Oldham and other voluntary sector organisations, The Memory Service was set up. It offers a diagnostic service and a wide range of support for people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Patients are referred to The Memory Service by their GPs for an assessment. A specialist nurse will then visit the person at home to conduct tests and assess needs. From there they are referred for further tests and scans as appropriate.

Patients are designated a Memory Liaison Practitioner who offers advice and support on the phone and face-to-face. They also conduct yearly check-ups to ensure treatment and support is correct.

In addition, a ten week education programme has been set up to explain what dementia is, how people can live with it and what services there are in Oldham for them to access.

The Memory Service also offers advice, memory sessions, occupational therapy, activities and psychology assessments.

70-year-old Sylvia, from Oldham and her 67-year-old husband and carer David have been supported by the Memory Service for the past three years. Both attend weekly Springboard meetings in Royton, where people living with dementia and related conditions, their carers, family and friends can seek helpful support in a friendly informal and fun environment.

Sylvia said: “When I was diagnosed with dementia I was devastated and frightened. If it wasn’t for my husband David, I don’t know where I would be. Thanks to the Memory Service I now know that there is always somewhere you can get help and that you can have a good, fun, social life.”

What changed:

The initiative has enabled people living with dementia and their carers to take advantage of the support on offer and make people more aware of the condition. The alliance has helped to shape new services for people living with dementia in Oldham.

Devolution focus: 

One of our ‘early implementation priorities is a dementia pilot where Salford will pilot a way of working, which will help people living with dementia get better care but Oldham is ahead of the game.