Celebrating the care we provide to patients living with dementia

13 May 2022

Dementia Action Week

Staff get together to celebrate the progress made to improve the care we provide to patients with dementia

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) hosted a celebration event to mark the progress made to improve the care it provides to patients living with dementia.

Over the last 14 months the Trust has been working closely with staff, the Alzheimer's Society, people living with dementia, their carers, acute hospitals and third sector organisations to progress its dementia campaign.

Led by our former Dementia Project Coordinator Laura Williams, some of our achievements include:

  • increasing the number of Dementia Friends from 1,000 to 3,000
  • rolling out tier one dementia awareness training to 4,068 staff
  • forget-me-not logo on all ID cards for staff and volunteers
  • becoming the first English ambulance trust to sign up to John’s Campaign which supports the role of carers
  • a new fleet of Patient Transport Service (PTS) dementia-friendly vehicles with music therapy, improved lighting and contrasting features
  • launching of the Carer Support Group to bring together staff with unpaid caring responsibilities to influence policy change and provide vital peer support
  • creating a Blue Light Dementia Steering Group, working towards Alzheimer’s Society commitments, with representation from all blue light services across Yorkshire and the Humber
  • securing £7,000 from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity or additional optional training and development for staff
  • connecting to all dementia leads at hospitals in the area, to improve collaborative working, timely problem-solving and share best practice

The celebration event in Pontefract included speeches from Sunday Times best-selling author Wendy Mitchell, who has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, a congratulatory video message from Cherry Tatlow from the Alzheimer’s Society, Karen Owens, YAS Director of Urgent Care and Integration, YAS Chair Kath Lavery, a performance about the challenges of dementia from the York-based Blue Light Theatre Company and two workshops.

Karen said: "It's vital that we give people living with dementia the very best care we possibly can and it became obvious that we could do more and we should do more. As someone once said to me, 'if we can get care right for someone living with dementia, we can get care right for everyone'. It was about compassion, good communication and good education and Laura has championed all three. A huge thanks to Laura and my team for the work they have done which will make a real difference to our patients and staff. The work we can do is immeasurable; it must, and will, remain a priority for the organisation."

YAS will be sharing its achievements, as well as the experiences of its staff who have first-hand experience of the benefits of the work which has been done, during Dementia Action Week which begins on Monday 16 May.

Representatives from Leeds Beckett University with Bill O'Brien, from PTS, and Sunday Times best-selling author Wendy Mitchell, who has Alzheimer's and vascular dementia

Laura Williams, former Dementia Project Coordinator, Karen Owens, YAS Director of Urgent Care and Integration, YAS Chair Kath Lavery, Lesley Butterworth, Lead Nurse - Urgent Care and Jackie Cole, Strategic Commander

Members of the Blue Light Theatre Company, which features three YAS staff, performed a short play about the challenges of dementia

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department