As part of Dementia Action Week (15-21 May) monthly drop-in sessions at new dementia hubs have been launched, helping give patients and relatives a place for much-needed advice and support.
Open to patients, relatives, carers, friends and staff, the hubs which are being introduced at Basildon and Broomfield hospitals this Dementia Action Week, have been based on the successful hub at Southend Hospital which has been running since 2019.
Julie Chapman from Hockley is a relative who has found the service a huge support after she visited the drop-in hub in Southend when her mum, Victoria, who also lives in Hockley, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia in January this year.
Talking about the support she’s received over the last few months, Julie said: “The hub has been great at offering advice and letting me know things that mum might say or do that are all part of the illness. Until someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, you don’t really know anything about it or what to expect.”
She said: “A few years ago I noticed that mum wasn’t herself, but I thought she was just being forgetful. It was after she had a memory test that I realised it wasn’t as simple as her just forgetting things.”
Claire Turner, Learning Disability, Autism and Dementia Service Lead, for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Southend dementia hub has been such a success and supported so many people. The opening of these other hubs at, our main hospital sites, mean we can now offer that same support and provide the very best care for people living with dementia and their families across mid and south Essex.
“The hubs provide a more relaxed, dedicated space for patients, their families and carers, to engage in discussion, navigate challenges, share information and identify appropriate resources and support. This will range from practical suggestions to support symptom management, provision of literature, issuing of resources, explanation of carer’s entitlements, introduction to professionals that patients, families, carers are likely to encounter, signposting to community support services and day opportunities.”
When asked what advice she’d give to someone who’s family member or friend has just been diagnosed, Julie said: “Go to one of the hubs and speak to someone, there’s no need to be embarrassed, you can be honest and there’s no judgement.
“They will support you as much as they can and signpost you to other people for support and information too, it’s just nice to talk to someone who can help reassure you.”
The free monthly drop-in sessions will be taking at Basildon Hospital in The Retreat on the first Monday of the month from 2pm to 4pm, Southend Hospital’s Day Assessment Unit on the first Tuesday of the month from 9.30am to 11am and in Broomfield Hospital’s Atrium on the last Thursday of the month from 11am to 1pm.
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