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Linda praises her mum’s dementia care

 Linda praises her mum’s dementia care


“She was my security blanket because no matter what time of day or night I’d ring Donna with a problem, she solved it for me because that’s what she is, that’s what her and her team are – miracle workers.” Linda Savage outlines the impact the Cherry Orchard Hospital-based ICPOP (Integrated Care Programme for Older Persons) team and in particular Advanced Nurse Practitioner Donna Mills on the care provided to Linda’s mother who lives with dementia.

Outlining the work of the ICPOP team, Berneen Laycock, Occupational Lead, Integrated Care Programme for Older Persons, (ICPOP) Dublin West and South City explains that they “look after older persons who live in the Dublin West and Dublin South City. We are aligned to St James’s Hospital.  A large number of people we work with are living with dementia.  We are a multi-disciplinary team that works across the acute and community healthcare settings to wrap around the older person and their families.  Our community-based services allow the older person to access integrated care and support that is planned around their needs and choices, enabling them to live well in their own homes and communities.”

Important and meaningful

As the Occupational Therapist working in the ICPOP team, Eilish Hogge describes her involvement with the person “enables them to do the things that are most important and meaningful to them, including facilitating their preference to live where and how they wish and in a way which best meets their ability and care needs.  To date, my caseload has involved a broad range of clients including people with a diagnosis of dementia who are living in the community along with clients who initially required hospitalisation.  Through Occupational Rehabilitation delivered in their own homes, these individuals can be discharged from hospital earlier as their programme of rehabilitation will be designed for their home environment and their specific needs. I am met with great levels of buy-in from the individual as they are motivated to work for their own functional improvements.

Rory Nee, ICPOP Consultant Geriatrician, St James’s Hospital and Community says he sees the ICPOP team as “ideally placed to deliver on Sláintecare goals of the right patient getting the right treatment in the right place at the right time. We achieve this by identifying patients in the community who are at high risk for crisis ED attendance, often as a result of dementia – we proactively manage them from home.  We’ve looked after over 500 complex cases and are successful in preventing ED attendances, hospital admissions and significantly reducing carer stress.”

Best help

For Linda Savage, however, the team has been instrumental in providing care and comfort for her mother: “In 2017 my mother was diagnosed with dementia.  At the time she was doing ok, she could manage to cope living on her own with carers coming in twice a day.  In 2020 my mother got Covid and that put her dementia up the mountain and back down again.   She got it really bad.  When she came home after Covid, she was bedbound and I was left to my own devices.  I didn’t know what to do.  She wasn’t eating, she wasn’t drinking so I contacted her GP.  Her GP put me on to the best help I could ever have, for her and for me – Donna her district nurse.

“Donna did everything possible for me,” Linda explained, “(she) helped me out every single day.  She got doctors to come to the house,  they changed my mother’s medication, made my mother more comfortable.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.   She got everything possible.”

Donna Mills, Advanced Nurse Practitoner, explains that “by providing a care coordinated approach, we can look at measures that can help family and family caregivers who have the emotional side of the caring.  So how we supported that was by putting an increased package of care into the home, trying to look at things like the Alzheimer’s Society, therapeutic home base care, and providing support to Linda, because to me Linda was key in keeping this wish of Betty’s alive and that’s what we did.”

Linda adds: “Eventually my mother had to go into a nursing home and that’s where the now resides.  She’s five months in Our Lady’s Hospice.  I know I couldn’t have done it – I couldn’t have done what I did for the six, or seven months that I had my mother at home, without having the support of Donna and her team.  There are no words to describe what she was like  - she was my security blanket because no matter what time of day or night I’d ring Donna with a problem, she solved it for me because that’s what she is, that’s what her and her team are – miracle workers.”

Watch the video about Cherry Orchard Hospital-based ICPOP