North east trust event tackles dementia care

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have hosted the first of their annual member events focusing on the topic of dementia.

The community focused trust extended a free invitation to the population of Teesside and the surrounding areas which saw around 50 delegates attend the February event.

Opening the first of the 2019 timetabled sessions, Paul Garvin, Trust Chairman welcomed guests with an explanation of the subject matter ‘Although we are not a mental health trust, we have a responsibility to identify the patients who are admitted to our trust who need our help’.

Mr Garvin introduced Stuart Harper-Reynolds, named adult safeguarding nurse and dementia lead within the trust and colleagues Janice McGuire, dementia specialist nurse and Nicola Murphy dementia specialist occupational health therapist who work as part of the community dementia liaison service.

Mr Harper-Reynolds gave an overview of how the trust supports its staff in working with the varying needs of people living with dementia explaining, our dementia training courses, like this session today bring a host of people together. This includes the families of the patients we work to support. Their feedback is some of the most essential we receive to help us to understand where we can improve’.

Research indicates that the biggest and most common issues facing those living with dementia, their families and support networks is communication. The presenter explained a scenario he poses to delegates who attend his training ‘remember your first day as a trainee doctor or nurse in an actual hospital environment. How much of the language being spoken on the wards did you understand?

From accents to the way we phrase a conversation with someone living with dementia can all impact understanding’.

The trust holds ‘dementia friendly’ status and the dementia care team credit this to the dedication of colleagues within the organisation.  Mr Harper-Reynolds went on to explain the different types of dementia, but the ultimate need for all people with dementia to be communicated with as unique individuals.

“Sometimes people see the diagnosis and not the person” Stuart Harper Reynolds

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust use a publication called ‘All About Me…’ to ensure that when a person living with dementia is admitted to the trust, they receive appropriate care which is centered around information provided in the document. From anxieties to food preferences, this document the team explained can help to make a hospital visit or stay a much smoother experience for the person.

With reported numbers of people living with dementia set to double to around 1.7 million people in the next 30 years, the trust is keen to share their learning and good practice with their wider communities.

Barbara Bright explains more about member events and upcoming topics ‘our communities are critical in supporting our ambitions as a trust. These events are free to attend and help us to engage with diverse audiences about the subjects that really matter in health care today. Dementia is happening now, and sessions like this one – with industry experts – help delegates to understand more about prevention, support and services available. We would encourage anyone interested in getting involved to get in touch with our team via our dedicated membership email address:

The trust will run the second of their events in on Thursday, 6 June 2019 dedicated to the topic of Population Health. For more information about getting involved contact the Membership Office on 01642 383920 or

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