Older people from Preston, Chorley and South Ribble with dementia are now able to receive specialist rehabilitation and intermediate care thanks to a unique multi-agency service officially opened today by local legend, Sir Tom Finney.
Chorley & South Ribble Primary Care Trust, Preston Primary Care Trust and Lancashire County Council Social Services have led a project to secure the necessary funding and develop the service, which is unique in the North West.
The funding has enabled an existing residential care home provided by Lancashire County Care Services to be adapted so that older people with dementia can now be helped to regain their self-confidence and boost independence after a period of ill health or recent discharge from hospital.
The specialist health and social care team working at Charnley Fold care home in Bamber Bridge include care workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapist.
The new service will give residents, and their families, greater choice and promote opportunities for them to receive specialist rehabilitation to help them get back on their own two feet and return home to live independently in their own homes with or without help of carers.
Ten intermediate care beds are now available at the home, which are dedicated solely for older people with dementia and those with specific mental health care needs. Until now, these patients have not been able to receive intermediate care as existing services were unable to meet all their needs.
Commenting at the launch Sir Tom Finney said:
"I'm delighted to be opening this specialist rehab service. There is a real need for this type of facility for older people in this area. Having a personal interest in this service recently, I would like to say that the care staff here are absolutely marvellous. I would like to congratulate Lancashire County Council and Preston and Chorley PCT on a very worthwhile care service. I wish it every success in the future."
Other partner organisations involved in the project include Lancashire County Care Services, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Lancashire Care NHS Trust, Lancashire Care Association, and Preston & South Ribble Age Concern.
Karen Mason, operations manager at Lancashire County Care Services, said:
"As the nominated service provider we are delighted to be working with partners on this very important development."
County Councillor Chris Cheetham, cabinet member for adult services and health, said:
"This is another excellent example of joined-up working between health, social services and partners. We recognise there is a major challenge to develop services for older people with dementia and mental health needs. This is a pioneering service and a major step forward in helping older people who need specialist intermediate care regain their independence and avoid long-term admissions to residential care."
Dennis Benson, Chairman of Chorley and South Ribble PCT, said:
"This is a major breakthrough. We all fear dementia; we fear even more the loss of independence. Suddenly there is hope; the PCT and its partners are leading the fight for human dignity and it deserves the support of every compassionate person."
Wendy Hogg, Chairman of Preston PCT, added:
"Again, through social services and NHS organisations working in partnership, this extremely important and valuable development has come to fruition. It is particularly good that, through working together, the organisations concerned have been able to introduce a specialist service aimed at meeting the needs of vulnerable elderly people."
Ninety-two year old Norah Fern of Penwortham was the first person to use the new service after she had been diagnosed with early stage dementia. Her daughter and son-in-law were very concerned that Norah would have to go into a secure nursing home after being discharged from hospital following treatment for a short physical illness. They did not think that such an arrangement would be suitable for her and were delighted when she was offered a bed in the new dementia unit.
Norah's son-in-law, David, said:
"It was always her wish to stay in her home with the help of carers and family for as long as possible. The facilities at Charnley Fold are all one could wish for, as is the care and support given by the staff. Thanks to them Norah's physical and mental condition have improved considerably and she is now very happily back at home."
Notes for Editors
- Approximately 7.5% of the population of older people over 65 in Preston, Chorley and the South Ribble suffer from dementia.
- Among those over the age of 85, estimates suggest 2 in 5 older people are suffering from dementia.
- Population estimates of numbers of older people across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble will increase significantly over the next 20 years across all ages.
- Prevalence rates of dementia within older people increase significantly with age.
Pictures available on request
For further information please contact: Andrew Lynn on 01772 534372