This year, Pharmacistweb has decided to support dementia friends. We are keen to raise awareness about dementia to ensure that all pharmacists within the UK become dementia friends. It is our belief that pharmacists play a crucial role in ensuring that communities across the UK are dementia friendly.
As part of our aim to raise awareness, we want to share stories about dementia. We came across, Jayne Connery’s campaign about CCTV in all communal areas in care homes, we wanted to find out why she began this campaign and we did – her campaign is driven by the experience of her mother in care-home. Jayne has kindly decided to share her personal experience below, we hope that this blog helps pharmacists visiting care-homes to raise awareness of the vulnerability faced by those in care-homes (and their family) experiencing various conditions including dementia.
Five years ago I became a champion for CCTV in all communal areas, exits and entrances of all care /nursing homes.
Accumulating thousands of supporters along the way, this journey has taken me to Andrea Sutcliffe Head of Adult Care CQC and to 10 Downing Street. This is driven, by the desire to see a urgent and much needed change in the protection and safeguarding of vulnerable residents and dedicated care workers in ALL of our UK care /nursing homes.
With tears and guilt in 2011, we placed our much loved mum in a CQC ‘good rated’ care home. This heart breaking decision saddened her family ,but it was decided the best course of action we could take, so as to spend as much quality time with her , for as long as she had left.
Mum’s was diagnosed with vascular dementia , the second most common form. Caused by reduced blood flow to the brain—usually from a stroke or series of strokes. While the strokes may be unnoticeably small, the damage can add up over time, leading to memory loss and confusion. This was hard to initially take in. We became very concerned with many of her personality changes. Loving and caring she became detached of feelings towards her husband, four children and friends. Mum, who took great pride in her appearance over time stopped taking care of herself. Friends who visited , went away shocked after seeing hoards of accumulated rubbish in her once pristine home. The hardest part of dementia, without doubt , is seeing the person you love fading right in front of you and they, detached of any realisation of what is actually happening. We knew no cure was in sight, so this gave us the determination she would live out her days comfortable, dignified, safe and well cared for.
In January 2016 I was forced to take mum OUT of the care sector and back home to live with me. In the five years of residing in three separate Care /nursing facilities we experienced preventable neglect towards her as well as other vulnerable residents. Carers , overworked , overstretched and understaffed with Care Service Providers choosing to place profit over care resulting in a failing system. This placed untold stress on our family. Already struggling with the demise of our mother, it turned out dementia wasn’t actually the worst challenge we had to face, but the care sector too.
Every day this CCTV campaign receives hundreds of messages of support from families and carers, speaking out about the care system failing them. In a recent poll 72% of care staff supported working with CCTV.
We HAVE to bring transparency into all care /nursing homes , starting with CCTV in all communal areas, exit and entrance points. Our vulnerable elderly and dedicated care staff deserve to live and work safely. We NEED the support of professional bodies to understand the current crisis in our care system is not just about money, but how we need to safeguard our vulnerable elderly as well as allowing our brilliant carers the right to work in an environment which is already challenging and stressful , the right to be protected too.
Please think about this now. There are 850,000 with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. So in years to come, should you have no capacity to make decisions for yourself, how would YOU want to be safeguarded in a care home ?
Witnessing my mum and many other vulnerable people suffer failings of care… I, and thousands of supporters to this Campaign know the answer.
Please contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sharing a story or relevant content of which you feel would benefit pharmacists.