Living Well with Dementia - Coventry & Warwickshire County Council
Living Well with Dementia is a one-stop portal for information about dementia. It was created by the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership, a group of local authorities, people and carers, NHS, private and voluntary sector organisations that came together to raise awareness of dementia and improve post-diagnosis support and care.
The partnership specified what information was required, what format it should take, and how it should be promoted and integrated as part of care pathways. The portal was then built by Warwickshire County Council and launched in November 2012. It is hosted on the council's website, and the existing IT infrastructure ensures that the content is monitored and updated regularly. The information is all available in factsheet format for people who do not have access to the internet.
The Living Well with Dementia Partnership also developed social media promotional channels concurrently with the portal, including the Living Well with Dementia blog and Twitter page. These are used to help keep content fresh, with the blog linking to the portal's 'latest news' page and Twitter acting as a feedback mechanism.
Who is the service for?
The service is aimed at a wide range of groups, including people with dementia, family carers, professionals and practitioners, and the wider public.
The aim of the project is to provide information about dementia and increase levels of awareness and understanding about living with it. Specifically, it aims to reduce stigma and challenge public perceptions of dementia, raise awareness of local services and support, and promote the idea of living well with dementia, including advice on healthy lifestyles.
Why is the service being developed?
The portal was developed in response to consultation with people with dementia and carers, who said that they found it difficult to understand the condition and to know what to do following a diagnosis. People reported that public perceptions of dementia were negative and focused on the later stages of the condition, and there was a lack of information about how people can live well with dementia. Their key message was that they wanted the provision of information to be kept simple.
Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
People with dementia and carers were involved in the project from the outset, selecting content, pictures, format, branding and colours for the portal. They remain involved in developing and evaluating the portal.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
The Partnership baselined levels of awareness and understanding about dementia and available services through a survey before the portal was launched, and found that awareness levels were low. More than 400 people responded, and many of them have agreed to be surveyed again, to see what has changed since the launch.
Research has been undertaken on people's experience of using the portal, and whether it has made a difference to their lives. Feedback from people who have used it has been very positive, and people say it has helped them make decisions and helped them feel more confident and well-informed.
The portal has proved to be a useful tool for bringing together stakeholders locally on shared aims and objectives about dementia, and enabling the delivery of local and national dementia strategies. It has provided a platform to start developing dementia-friendly communities, in line with the Government's dementia challenge.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
The costs associated with developing the portal have mostly been covered by Warwickshire County Council in staff time to develop and launch it. Promoting and launching the portal cost less than £3,000.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
- Engage with people with dementia and their carers early to understand their requirements and listen to what they say
- Engage with all stakeholders to ensure that the information is as accurate and high-quality as possible, and that all partners are signed up to shared aims and anticipated outcomes
- Identify what information is already available and where the gaps are
- Ensure that partners are signed up to signposting people to the portal at specific points during their journey with dementia. For instance, the memory assessment service has given a commitment that they will provide leaflets about the portal to people following a diagnosis.
Service Redesign Officer, Warwickshire County Council
Telephone: 01926 742464