Aberdeenshire is anticipating the highest rate of increase of the over 85 population in Scotland, with a consequent increase in numbers of people with dementia. In line with one of our 3 reshaping care themes, we identified a need to upskill staff and improve their confidence in providing care for people with dementia and their carers which is outcome focused and of high quality.
This training initiative was originally aimed to increase knowledge and skills of NHS and local authority staff in how to prevent, assess and respond to distress in dementia for individuals with dementia, their families and carers – this approach is now being rolled out to independent sector care home staff.
Previous mapping of the falls pathway had demonstrated that there was no clear systematic approach to the identification and onward referral of those presenting to the A&E department at the local hospital with a fall.
By 2011 telecare had evolved slowly in Aberdeen and it became evident that in order to mainstream efficiently it had to be incorporated into the Community Alarm service. We were then faced with the issue that we required additional staff to assess, review and more importantly raise awareness on telecare provision. Both professionals and the public had little knowledge of the benefits of telecare and how vital it was as part of the Community Care Assessment.
Studies showed that very few members of the public considered Telecare until/unless the option was highlighted to them by a health or social care professional. The project has the opportunity to raise staff awareness eg by road shows, so that they in turn can be more confident in highlighting to service users and carers. Many people had been issued with telecare through funding from the National Telecare Development Programme, but the provision had never been reviewed. Although professionals understood the concept of telecare, information on referrals received demonstrated the lack of knowledge on how the equipment functioned and what the best solution was for the person.
Prior to telecare being incorporated into the community alarm service, the post holders carried out maintenance, repairs and battery management for the former Grampian Region. As telecare was developing each area established their own methods of working and this enabled Aberdeen City to utilise the post holders for the telecare service. Their wealth of knowledge and expertise allowed the service to develop rapidly, once the decision had been taken to incorporate with community alarm.