Pendleside Enhances its Dementia Support Services

Lily Barlow Poster

More than 2,300 individuals living in Burnley and Pendle have been diagnosed with dementia. Recognising the scarcity of specialised support and care services, Pendleside Hospice is actively expanding its service provision in this region to bridge the gap.

Currently, we run two 12-week programs, on a Tuesday and Friday morning, designed for people living with dementia. In addition, the team at Pendleside facilitate two other groups each month, enabling carers to access emotional and practical support from the Hospice team as well as their peers.

Michelle Robbins kindly shares her experience about the care and support both her and husband, Terry, received from Pendleside Hospice.

Terry was originally referred to us via an Admiral Nurse, having been diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2022. Terry initially received complementary therapy with the Health, Wellbeing and Rehabilitation team as well as attending the weekly ‘Living with Dementia’ Support Group with his wife.

Michelle also attended the Carer’s Group at the Hospice every month, adding, "Pendleside is such a warm and welcoming place, I really enjoyed attending the peer support group. Terry would be taken care of in one room, while the carer's got together in another. We would take part in mindfulness activities, share our struggles and help each other out. I always came away feeling much more positive and it reminded me that I wasn't alone."

In the summer of 2022, Terry suffered a fall, which meant he struggled to attend the dementia support group and had to stop. Alongside other care organisations, Pendleside's Hospice at Home team got involved in Terry's care, which included respite visits and overnight stays.

Michelle added, "Each night, I would be getting up to help Terry around 3-4 times, so the overnight support really helped me to rest and recuperate. Having the extra support from Pendleside meant I could sleep much easier and be in a better mindset for the following day."

As Terry's health started to worsen, it became more apparent just how much care he needs and he is now receiving round-the-clock care within a care home, but support from Pendleside is always there for Michelle, should she need it.

"As a carer, it can be extremely challenging.” Michelle said, “But I have built my own support network and it's wonderful to see how many people come and visit Terry - he's made a real impression!"

Maintenance Covid

Our aim is to enhance the support provided to individuals such as Michelle and Terry. In partnership with Dementia UK, we appointed Rachel Moroney as Admiral Nurse at the end of last year. Rachel's role is focused on enhancing the experiences and outcomes of families impacted by dementia.

Rachel has over 25 years experience working within palliative care and previously worked as a Staff Nurse for 10 years on Pendleside’s Inpatient Unit.

“When I saw the job role for an Admiral Nurse being advertised, I instantly felt a connection - I was ready to take on a new challenge, both professionally and for my own personal development,” said Rachel. “I was overjoyed to be given the position and it’s an exciting opportunity to be in a role where I can create positive change.”

“My aim is to improve the experience and outcomes for families affected by dementia, through the delivery of high-quality palliative and relationship-centred dementia care. I will support families, who are living with dementia, particularly those who have complex needs and are struggling to cope with day-to-day activities. I will provide a full assessment of needs, support, advice and importantly, time. This service will be empathetic, person-centred, holistic, non-judgemental and inclusive to all who need it. I will work with families both within the Hospice and in their own homes.”

Rachel will additionally offer assistance to the dementia support groups run by our Health, Wellbeing & Rehabilitation team. This assistance will include 'drop-in' clinics, educational sessions, and training opportunities for families and carers. Furthermore, Rachel will collaborate with the broader multi-professional team, dedicated to supporting individuals living with dementia.

Raising awareness of what support is available for people living within Burnley and Pendle is Rachel’s passion. By sharing patient and family experiences and listening to their struggles and life experiences, Pendleside can start to shape their new service both now and in the future.

The new service will be made available to existing patients at the start of May. If you are looking for specialist dementia support, referrals to our Hospice can be made by a relative, carer or health care professional, by emailing [email protected]. Alternatively, please call the reception desk on 01282 440 100 and they will be able to navigate you to the right department.