The Calderdale memory service is celebrating being accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the care they provide to local people with memory problems or dementia and their families.
The service applied for accreditation by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP), which works with services to assure and improve the quality of memory services.
The service embarked on the journey to accreditation in April 2013 and have been working hard over the spring and summer to demonstrate that they meet the standards listed by the Royal College as part of the programme. The standards are set with two overarching principles in mind:
• People with memory problems/dementia should have fair access to assessment, care and treatment on the basis of need, irrespective of age, gender, social or cultural background, and are not excluded from services because of their diagnosis, age or co-existing disabilities/medical problems.
• People with memory problems/dementia and their carers should receive a service that is person-centred and takes into account their unique and changing personal, psychosocial and physical needs.
Maria Palmer, service manager for older people’s services in Calderdale explained, “We applied for accreditation in respect of our assessment and diagnosis of dementia and for our services in providing psychosocial interventions for those with dementia.
“In 2012 the Government’s ‘action on dementia’ policy included the recommendation that the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia should include accreditation of services, so that people could be assured of the quality of the service.
“We also wanted to apply for the accreditation so we could review our service in light of a number of improvements that we have made to the care pathway, including a reduction in time people have to wait for an assessment after referral and the introduction of groups which allow those who have used the service to contribute to its development.”
The accreditation process is in three phases. First services are required to carry out a self review. This includes reviewing their activities, case notes, local procedures and practices and asking those who have used the service to share their views on the care provided. Secondly, the service is visited by an external team who look at the evidence from the self review and speak to both staff and service users. The evidence collated by both reviews is then submitted to the Accreditation Committee as part of the final phase, who recommend whether a service should be accredited.
Maria continued, “Taking part in the accreditation process has been a very positive experience for the Calderdale memory pathway services. It has highlighted examples of good practice within community mental health teams and the memory service, who together provide the pathway locally. This none stand alone model which is used by the service allows us to deliver high quality care in the community, visiting people in their homes when they are first referred to us and working closely with partners such as the Alzheimer’s Society. The positive feedback from service users and other stakeholders was a real boost to the team as it highlighted the care provided really does make a difference.
“Our service is working towards a three year plan that will improve the care we can offer to local people and accreditation has shown us that we are on the right path with this.
“I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the accreditation process. The effort and energy required by people to continue to provide an efficient service while helping with the accreditation was great. The team were thrilled to receive the accreditation and it has been a great boost to their morale.”
Andrew Stapley, team leader in the memory service said, “Working towards accreditation was a way for the service to measure how it was doing – against other services doing a similar job, and in a collaborative manner, with the people who use the service.
“The process allowed time for reflection and helped the team understand what they do well and where they might improve. It is a supporting and positive process, an attempt at partnership working with the people who rely on the service.
“Being subject to review can feel daunting but it is an opportunity to show good practice and receive positive feedback just as much as it is about suggesting improvements; it is therefore an encouraging and energising exercise that helps teams move forward.”
The memory pathway services in Calderdale will hold accreditation for the provision of assessment and diagnosis of dementia and accreditation for the provision of psychosocial interventions for dementia until July 2015.