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Highlighting the support available to our service users on World Alzheimer's Day

21 Sep 23

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day. Alzheimer’s disease is a physical illness which damages a person’s brain and eventually causes dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia.

HPFT supports people with dementia through it’s Early Memory Diagnosis and Support Service (EMDASS). It offers comprehensive assessment and practical support to Hertfordshire residents who have concerns about their memory and are worried that they may have dementia.

The service is made up of Psychiatrists, Nurses, Psychologists and OTs and works in close partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and Hertfordshire County Council’s Adult Care Services to provide psychological and practical support.

Annie Mitchell is one of three local services managers at the Alzheimer’s Society. Her role involves working closely with staff in the EMDASS and picking up referrals from the memory clinics and dementia nurse specialists following a diagnosis.

Annie says: “We offer post diagnostic support which is really being there to listen to a person’s questions and concerns. We see people on a one-to one basis and this can be either over the phone or face to face. We help people living with dementia and their carers as well as signposting to other organisations who can help. We are here for the duration of a person’s life, from diagnosis to end of life. Circumstances and needs change and things may become complex and upsetting but we are always here.”

The service remains open to anyone who has accessed it and people are encouraged to return as and when needed. Annie and the team also offer keeping in touch calls and hope to help everyone affected by dementia to live as well as they can for as long as possible.

Annie continues: “In my role I work with partner organisations like EMDASS at HPFT, Age UK, Hertswise and Carers in Herts, to ensure we are working together to provide service users with the information and support they need, when they need it. We also work with Hertfordshire County Council and are helping them to implement their dementia strategy.

“My passion for dementia is driven by personal experience; my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in early 2020. I found it really difficult to find the answers to all the questions we had. As a daughter of someone living with dementia, I know how hard it can be to get the support we need and juggle family life, work life and caring for my mum.

“I love the job that I do. I feel that I am fortunate to be able to support people through what can be a difficult time and hopefully make a difference. When people just thank you for listening to them it makes it all worthwhile.”

For further information on EMDASS visit: Early Memory Diagnosis and Support Service (EMDASS) (hpft.nhs.uk)

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