"Dementia Nurse Specialist carer experience"
About: Tolworth Hospital / Memory clinic Tolworth Hospital Memory clinic KT6 7QU
Posted by LO (as ),
My dad has been receiving support from Neil the Dementia Nurse Specialist at Tolworth Hospital. It's with mixed feelings that I received the information last week that my dad is being discharged. I'm happy that that the professionals are pleased with how my dad is managing and that the support I have organised for him is working well. I also understand that dementia numbers are growing and any support services available are having to grow exponentially in the context of limited resources. However I feel that a "lifeline" has now been removed and that there's no specialist service supporting my dad; there's no-one periodically asking those specialist questions at a time when my dads needs are changing. Instead, my dad's care will revert back to the GP. My dad is lucky, he has a good GP.
The service Neil has provided my dad will be much missed. I suppose I felt Neil was supporting me rather than supporting my dad, but the end result is that my dad maintains his independence for as long as possible. I work with people with dementia so have professional knowledge of the condition and I'm now feeling bereft..... I wonder how most other families feel when they are being discharged?
Neil has a lovely manner with the clients who use his service. He is approachable, gives information simply and is very easy to talk to. He has always given the impression that he has as much time as you need during appointments. He has always followed up on the things he has said he would. He has a practical way of working and I came away from each appointment with new things to research in order to help my dad. Previous appointments with the Psychiatrist were less helpful and it just felt that the service was monitoring my dad rather than providing us with any practical solutions. My dad, who has a poor memory for names and people and struggles with word-finding, usually remembers who Neil is and thinks he's "a nice bloke" - that's praise indeed!
Leaving the dementia service means that my dad no longer has access to other members of the community mental health team such as OT (who has also been very helpful).
Our overall experience of the dementia team has been very positive; it's the discharge bit that I'm worried about.....