NHS England’s Dementia Friendly Dentistry programme has been recognised for its “remarkable” efforts to make life better for people with dementia at Alzheimer’s Society’s 2016 Dementia Friendly Awards.
The awards celebrate organisations, communities and individuals making outstanding contributions towards improving the lives and experiences of people with dementia.
This year there were nine award categories, including four brand new awards. The Dementia Friendly Dentistry programme has won the Dementia Friendly Partnership of the Year accolade for their efforts to make life better for people with dementia.
The NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside) Dementia Friendly Dentistry Programme brought together colleagues in dental care, Public Health England and Health Education to produce the ‘Dementia Friendly Dentistry’ toolkit, which was published in May.
The toolkit provides guidance on understanding dementia, adapting the environment, clinical care, and understanding capacity and managing consent. The toolkit has now been distributed to all 360 NHS dental practices across Cheshire and Merseyside.
The award was sponsored by East of England Co-op and was presented in a ceremony that took place in Westminster, London on Wednesday 30 November and was hosted by Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Angela Rippon.
Jean Rogers, Senior Commissioning Manger at NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside) Dementia Friendly Dentistry Programme and Lesley Gough, Clinical Adviser, collected the award.
Jean said: “We were surprised to win as we were in awe of other people’s entries. We’re really pleased though and grateful for this opportunity to share our work with others. We’re really happy just being at the Awards because it has been great talking to other finalists, such as some representatives from Salford University, and exploring opportunities to link up in the future.”
Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, attended the ceremony. He said: “The Dementia Friendly Communities programme has led to inspiring action, raising awareness of this condition and supporting people to live well. Dementia is a priority for this Government and I am inspired by the work of the individuals here today who are leading the way in making their own communities dementia friendly.”
There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with this figure set to rise to over a million by 2021. With myths and misunderstandings around dementia continuing to contribute to the stigma and isolation many people feel, Alzheimer’s Society warns it has never been more vital for communities to rally together to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, said:
“Dementia is the biggest health and social care issue facing our society and there’s no question that it has a profound and devastating impact for many – but the actions of the Dementia Friendly Dentistry programme and others like them are helping to raise better awareness, break down stigma and make our communities more dementia friendly.
“What makes our winners so remarkable is the way they use their imagination, energy and enthusiasm to inspire others. NHS England’s Dementia Friendly Dentistry programme has gone that extra mile to make a bigger difference in their community for people with dementia and they will inspire others to follow their example in all walks of life.”
Sponsored by Iceland, the awards are part of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities initiative, which aims to ensure people affected by dementia feel understood and included in all aspects of community life.
They demonstrate the huge success of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities and Dementia Friends programmes – there are now 1.7 million Dementia Friends and over 200 Dementia Friendly Communities supporting people with dementia at a local level.