Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s (CNTW) Memory Assessment and Management Service (MAMS) is celebrating being shortlisted in the National Dementia Care Awards.
As part of a joint initiative with creative charity Equal Arts, the team are finalists in the ‘Outstanding Arts and Creativity in Dementia Care’ category for their Creative Dementia Group.
Funded by the Health Foundation through an Innovation for Improvement Grant, the group enabled patients and their carers to take part in different artistic activities including printmaking, ceramics and glass work using an imagination-based approach.
With three cohorts running for eight sessions, each group was led by professional artists and supported by MAMS staff. With their help, patients were able to communicate their thoughts and feelings through a range of visual arts and creative writing.
Andrea Embleton, Clinical Lead at CNTW, said: “It is both an honour and a privilege to have been shortlisted. It’s fantastic that the team’s hard work has been recognised and has been a welcome morale boost in these difficult times.
“The project has had tremendous benefits to patients, carers and staff. Feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive; they have said it has enabled them to live in the moment and to recognise the importance of what they can do rather than what they can’t. The project has increased their confidence, they have had fun and engaged with others.
“Unfortunately group work is currently on hold due to the pandemic but we want the legacy of the creative group to continue and hope to start another when it is safe to do so.”
One carer said: “The project was a pivotal moment in his dementia journey. It helped him accept his diagnosis and realise that there is life after being diagnosed.”
The sessions proved so popular, the partnership extended to include sessions for staff to promote wellbeing.
Andrea added: “The staff sessions allowed for reflection on clinical practice, offering a new perspective on patient and carer needs. They also led to improved interactions among the team. The use of creative activities has freed people to have the courage to innovate and do things differently.”
Now in their 11th year, the National Dementia Care Awards celebrate the excellence and innovation of those working in dementia care. The virtual awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 12 November.
MAMS is run by CNTW, a leading provider of mental health and disability services across the north of England. It is for people of any age who live in Newcastle and parts of North Tyneside who have been referred due to concerns about their memory. Its work includes assessing and diagnosing memory difficulties, offering support and advice for patients and their families, and providing a range of treatments and interventions.
Equal Arts works to improve the lives of older people and those living with dementia through creativity.