A NEW service for relatives of dementia sufferers and their carers has been launched to help deal with worsened symptoms during the pandemic.
The lockdown has had a detrimental effect on many dementia sufferers, and the new scheme hopes to provide “expert guidance” to help manage exacerbated behaviours.
Director of Dementia Centre, Hammond Care Associate Professor Colm Cunningham explained: “The global pandemic has really challenged care homes supporting people living with dementia because of the limitations on activities and engagement opportunities.
Enquiries to the service, in its first weeks of launch, indicate that residents have been affected by the lack of family visits and the change of routine in their care setting.
“Social distancing has changed their lives and caused an increase in stress, confusion and behaviour issues.
“Family members have found it difficult to cope too, especially as they see the changes on video calls but feel powerless to help.”
As a result, care home professionals across England have welcomed the service, which is being provided by Dementia Support UK from HammondCare and funded by Innovate UK.
Ed Russell, Deputy Chief Executive, WCS Care, a specialist care provider, said:“At a time of increased pressure for care homes, carers and residents have felt the impact of a pause on family visits to the homes.
“And while we have alternative ways to ensure loved ones stay in touch, such as pre-arranged window visits, video calls and compassionate garden visits, for people with dementia the change in routine can cause anxiety and stress.
“Having additional guidance and support available at the end of the phone through which complements the tools we already provide gives our teams valuable acknowledgement of the work they’re already doing, while providing useful insight and new approaches to try.
“Our teams have warmly welcomed this virtual pair of helping hands.”