Community pharmacies are recognised as key places for healthcare advice, and they are uniquely placed to provide information, support and signposting for people with dementia or those worried about their memory. However, many pharmacists will have had no specific dementia awareness training.
The aim of Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) awareness workshops is to develop the pharmacy teams’ knowledge of dementia; increase their confidence and skill level to help them relate, communicate and support someone with dementia.
The Dementia Friendly Communities Programme is free for pharmacists and their teams to attend. Community pharmacist Joe McAleer from Belcoo Pharmacy has participated in the programme and won a Dementia Friendly Award (NI) in 2016, for the work his pharmacy team has done to help patients with dementia.
Joe shared some of the benefits of becoming a dementia friendly pharmacy:
“Dementia affects so many people, and it’s growing all the time but the Dementia Friendly Communities training has enabled myself and my team to spot early signs of dementia in some customers who weren’t yet diagnosed, and when it’s appropriate to start conversations with those people about their symptoms.
I wish we had the information earlier and I would recommend community pharmacists get in touch with Alzheimer’s Society to find out more about the programme. You can’t underestimate the value of knowing that when a patient living with dementia or one of their family members walks into your pharmacy, you can support them. All because you now have a better understanding of their condition and have a real insight into what it’s like to care for someone with dementia.”
Facts about Dementia in Northern Ireland:
• Currently over 20,000 people living with dementia in NI
• Approximately 35% do not have a formal diagnosis
• It is expected that these numbers will more than treble in the next 20-30 years
• 6 out of 10 people in NI fear most getting a diagnosis of dementia
If you would like more information about the programme please contact:
Dementia Friendly Community Manager NI
M: 07801 833 605
or click here to find out more about resources available for pharmacists