Oakleaf practice is ‘Dementia Friendly’

When local GP Dr. Nicola Duffy, featured on local radio recently, it sparked a debate regarding awareness of dementia amongst staff at GP practices.

Following this Dr. Duffy, of Oakleaf Medical Practice Great James Street, decided to conduct some research into dementia awareness programmes; determined to do something to ensure her staff were more aware of the disease.

It was then, that she stumbled upon a project delivered by the Old Library Health Trust, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, called DEED; Derry Engaging and Empowering Dementia.

DEED aim to make Derry a ‘dementia friendly city’. Through workshops, DEED provide for small businesses, shop workers, taxi companies, community centres and the general public, they hope to raise awareness of dementia and the effects it has on a person. They hope that by raising awareness, they will be able to encourage those living with dementia to continue to be involved in the community and boost their confidence in their ability to be independent.

Co-ordinators Una Hume and Sabrina Lynch work alongside all businesses who are interested in participating in this programme, and tailor a service specific to them. Following Dr.Duffy’s request they have established a new GP programme for all staff members.

Una believes that, “when a patient living with dementia arrives at their GP practice for an appointment, it is not only the doctor whom they will come into contact with”.

She emphasises the importance of “good communication, awareness and basic understanding of dementia and how it affects a person” for all receptionists and nurses who will also be interacting with patients.

Dr. Duffy hopes that by enrolling all staff members at Oakleaf Medical Practice in this programme it will prove to be “hugely beneficial in raising awareness amongst staff, and improving the facilities we as a practice offer to our patients with dementia”.

Through this programme, Una hopes to “ease the journey for patients when visiting their GP. To make the process of making appointments and remembering the time and date of these appointments and collecting prescriptions much easier”. Once sessions are completed, DEED provide participants with a ‘dementia friends’ pin in hopes that if someone with dementia sees this pin they will feel comfortable enough to approach the person for assistance if needs be.

Una said DEED are ‘delighted’ that Oakleaf have got in contact with them and they will be the first GP practice in Derry to be official “Dementia Friends”. She further encourages the other GP practices in the city to get involved.

Una adds that it is “so important for all members of the public to have a basic understanding of dementia.

To be equipped with the skills to support a disorientated elderly person at any time”.

For more information on how to participate in DEED sessions contact Una or Sabrina on 02871373870, email deed@olt.ie or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DerryEngagingEmpoweringDementia