Younger Onset Dementia Service wins HSJ Award


Younger Onset Dementia Service wins HSJ Award

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Younger Onset Dementia Service has won the Innovation in Mental Health award at the Health Service Journal Awards.

The team beat competition from nine other shortlisted entrants in the category and is the only Welsh winner in the 2017 awards.

The Younger Onset Dementia Service is a specialist and dedicated service for people, their carers and families who receive a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65.

The service works closely with the patient and their families to connect them with support during these challenging times.  Younger people diagnosed with dementia may have different needs to older people such as still being in work at the time of diagnosis, having dependent children still living at home or caring for ageing parents.

The Innovation in Mental Health category is about seeking out the innovation that is leading the way in delivering better services, empowering service users, putting them at the centre of care, engaging the community and reducing stigma.

Dr Simon O’Donovan MBE, Team Leader for the Cardiff and Vale Younger Onset Dementia Service said; “It is fantastic to have this recognition for what is one of only a handful of specialist younger onset dementia multi-disciplinary teams in the UK, and probably the only service with a dedicated inpatient unit.

“The 42,850 people living with dementia aged between 30 and 65 within the UK need access to specialised care, treatment and therapeutic opportunities, within age appropriate environments.

“In Cardiff and Vale we are fortunate enough to have a well-developed network of community support which provides ongoing contact through the duration of the illness and regular clinical reviews to respond to changes in needs and circumstances.”

Len Richards, Chief Executive at Cardiff and Vale UHB said; “This is a fantastic achievement for the team to be recognised in such prestigious awards throughout the UK. Dementia is an illness that is increasing in the UK and having these services and support mechanisms in place for patients and their families is so important.

“The service is tailored to meet the needs of individuals who are coming to terms with coping with the diagnosis of a life changing illness which not only affects the individual but the family as a whole.  The support, care and advice the team provide is fantastic and it is humbling to see the feedback from their clients, carers and families.”

The service has received positive feedback from clients, carers and families who have praised the service for their support during difficult and challenging circumstances.

One family member said “The Young Onset Dementia Service has been life changing for us during the last few years.  When my husband was first referred we only expected regular outpatient appointments. How wrong we were.

“The level of engagement across the various parts of the service has been outstanding. We are so grateful for the continuity of support, which works very effectively.

“Staff have been friendly, informative and helpful. What I value most is the transparency with which things are done and the unique way in which staff treat both patient and carer.  There is a true feeling of togetherness, rather than us and them. Everyone has gone the extra mile to enable us to cope with the challenges we have been faced with.”