My name is Michelle Brown and I work at the Alzheimer’s Society Coventry Office.
I have worked for the Alzheimer’s Society for almost six years, spending my first two years as a Leisure & Well-Being Worker supporting people with dementia to maintain their independence. I moved into the role of Dementia Support Worker after the funding for Leisure Workers stopped and have spent the last few years supporting people with Dementia and their carers to live well. In Coventry, we have recently combined the roles of Dementia Advisor and Dementia Support Worker into Dementia Navigators and I am now one of the Navigators supporting people in the city of Coventry to live as well as possible with Dementia.
It is a varied role with lots of work going on at the moment to promote the new service to other Health and Social Care Professionals in the city so my day is starting with a 9.30am meeting to present information about this to our local Adult Social Care Team. I have left them with several leaflets and referral forms to enable them to signpost people to us for support. The Department Manager thanked me for attending and felt the meeting was extremely beneficial to them all as they now felt they had a process for referring out for specialist support to people who were living with Dementia in the community.
As I arrive back in the office, it is straight into a team meeting with my line Manager and the other Dementia Navigator’s to discuss how the new service is ‘bedding in’ and identify any issues that may need addressing. We agree that the processes appear to be working well so far although minor changes to ensure assessment paperwork matches the requirements of CRS are noted.
It is now 12.30pm and I log on for the first time today to be met with a couple of telephone call-backs to service users, one who needed information about day centres and the other to discuss feelings around moving a person with dementia into a care home. The first call was dealt with by discussing different day centres and identifying what the carer felt was an appropriate setting . She asked for a list of the Day Centres in Coventry so that she could make enquiries herself and arrange to view a couple of them before deciding which day centre would be right for her husband. I agreed to post the relevant information and reassured her that should she need any further support with this matter she could call me back. The second call was from a service user I have been supporting for a couple of years. Mrs G was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia approximately six years ago and she remains living at home with Mr G meeting most of her care needs. Throughout the Dementia journey, I have worked closely with Mr & Mrs G ensuring that domiciliary care and respite breaks have been arranged but Mr G feels he can no longer manage his caring responsibilities and has recently come to a decision to move his wife into a care home permanently. He wanted to speak to me today to help him come to terms with his decision and understand what would happen next now that the care home he had chosen had confirmed they had capacity to take her. I agreed to contact the social worker on his behalf to request that she contact Mr G and discuss procedures and timeframes. I will continue to support Mr G during this difficult time and provide useful information to help Mrs G’s move into care be as ‘smooth’ as possible (i.e. life history book to accompany her which will inform her new carers about her as a person and identify some of her own belongings he may take ahead to her new room so that when she arrives the space may feel familiar to her). Mr G has often stated that he feels the ongoing support from the Alzheimer’s Society has enabled him to continue caring for his wife at home.
After clearing a few emails it is now 2.00pm and I am about to leave the office to attend a pre-arranged home visit. I have my briefcase with me which contains my assessment paperwork and plenty of information about Alzheimer’s Society services in the city such as Dementia Cafe’s and Singing for the Brain along with information leaflets from other agencies such as Carer’s Trust and Age UK. It is important to be prepared and have this information so that we are able to signpost to other agencies if they are able to offer a service which meets a support need. At 2pm I attend the home of Mrs J who is looking after her husband. We received a referral from our local memory Clinic to request support for them both after Mr J was recently diagnosed with Mixed Dementia. It became clear during my visit that Mr & Mrs J are coping very well with the diagnosis and just wanted information about ‘getting their affairs in order’. We talk about Lasting Power of Attorney and I leave the relevant fact sheet with them along with a list of local solicitors they may contact to support them with this. I talk about social opportunities such as Dementia Cafe, Resource Cafe and Singing for the Brain and leave leaflets relating to the same. Mr J used to be in a band when he was younger and music has always been important to him so he seems quite positive about ‘giving Singing for the Brain a go!’. Mr & Mrs J both state they feel reassured to have a Dementia Navigator as a point of contact for information and support.
That is my shift in the office finished for the day however when I get home I have to do some reading and pack my bag for tomorrow as I am currently undertaking a two year Foundation Degree in Dementia Studies at Worcester University. I am just starting my second year and whilst it is hard work some days ‘keeping all the balls in the air, I am thoroughly enjoying the learning and feel I am constantly developing as a practitioner as a result of my studies. My passion for enabling people to live well with Dementia constantly motivates me in my work and I am fortunate to belong to a team here at Coventry who are just as driven.
For more information on services offered by Alzheimer’s Society Coventry, please visit: