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Making life easier for people living with dementia in Gloucestershire and those who care for them is the aim of an innovative new project.

The Living Well Handbook has been developed to allow people living with dementia to communicate their likes, dislikes, medical and lifestyle needs to carers and healthcare staff.

Containing everything from personal details to current prescriptions, it can be accessed by the different services and professionals who provide care and support, including Community Dementia Nurses, Dementia Advisors, domiciliary care staff and primary care teams.

It also provides essential information for carers at a time when it’s most needed, this can be anything from advice on council tax benefits to end of life care planning.

The book can develop with the person as their needs change and their condition progresses, so if their communication skills become impaired, their wishes and needs which have been outlined in the booklet can still be found.

Designed and developed by NHS Gloucestershire in collaboration with an individual who has dementia and his carer, the Alzheimer’s Society and various other community partners the Living Well Handbook will be rolled out this autumn.

Jill Crook, NHS Gloucestershire’s Director for Clinical Development and Engagement, said the handbook will prove invaluable for patients and staff.

She said: “It’s about making life as easy as possible for people living with dementia and those who care for them.
“Dementia care in Gloucestershire remains a priority with health and voluntary services working together to provide high quality care for local people.

“By providing a single document where all these services can find out about the individual they are treating we can provide truly personal care right down to whether they prefer tea or coffee or what name they prefer to be called, little details which can mean a lot to people.

“NHS Gloucestershire is committed to providing care closer to home and projects such as the Living Well Handbook can help those with dementia stay at home for longer.”

Kathy Holmes, Project lead for Managing Memory Together at ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Living Well Handbook is a great example of how by working with people with dementia and their carers we can develop material and information that can be beneficial to them now and in the future to help people to live well with dementia.’

Vanessa Roberts, Lead Nurse Manager for Old Age Medicine at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the handbook would provide an invaluable tool for staff.

She said: “For the Hospitals Trust, the book will enable us to engage with the patient and their carers in an informed way. We will be able to identify the needs of the patient more accurately.

“The Living Well handbook will also help us provide the care the patient wants by encouraging and supporting the participation of patients, their family and carers. Our knowledge and understanding of each patient will be enhanced by this new initiative.”

You can request a copy of the Living Well Handbook from our Managing Memory Together service by calling 0800 694 8800.