We undertook a review of dementia services in the Clapham Park area of Lambeth during the second half of 2014. With the number of people with dementia set to double in the UK over the next 30 years, we were keen to explore how well different local health and care services worked together to support people with dementia, their families and carers.
Interiors: Overall, we found the interior environments to be well maintained and pleasant for residents, with the exception of Collingwood Court where we felt the lounge to be small for the numbers using them and in need of refreshing. Both care homes were already looking at some new furnishings and decoration to brighten and update the environment.
Quality of care: During our visits we witnessed generally kind and appropriate care of residents by staff across all four schemes. While feedback from residents was limited because most were living with dementia, most seemed content.
- Safety: All the residents we spoke to said they felt safe in their homes: “I am safer now because I am away from ‘certain people’”; “I feel safe here; I could no longer look after myself at home.” This was mirrored in our family survey: all respondents felt that their relatives were safe.
Our overall impression from our Enter and View visits is of residential services that provide good basic care but are not always able to work in ways to enhance the lives of the people they care for, particularly in terms of collaboration between different on-site providers to deliver joined up person-centred services and supporting social interaction amongst residents.
While the facilities were safe and accessible, we found limited evidence of friendships, activities or opportunities for residents to make personal choices. And while connections with other local health and care services were generally good, the facilities and their residents seemed largely isolated from the neighbouring community. Our second recommendation is for the establishment of a Dementia Action Alliance for Lambeth to champion dementia services and build a coordinated response from Lambeth citizens, service providers and commissioners.