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Suffolk dementia team shortlisted for regional award

A specialist dementia team from East Suffolk has been shortlisted for a prestigious award celebrating innovation in healthcare.

The East Suffolk Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST,) part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, is a finalist in the Health Enterprise East Innovation Competition 2013, which will see the winners chosen at a special dinner in Cambridge next month.

Shortlisted in the Improved Dementia Care category, the competition invited entries from more than 30 trusts in six counties in East Anglia and the East Midlands, plus the edge of London.

The East Suffolk DIST aims to prevent admissions to hospitals or reduce the length of stay for older people with dementia. It also avoids dementia sufferers being moved to care homes when they can still be treated in their own surroundings.

Sandra Bailey, Team Leader for the DIST, said: “We are really excited to be one of the finalists for this category. Our team is a direct response to the government’s dementia strategy, which estimated that up to 70% of hospital beds were being occupied by older people, half of those with conditions like dementia and delirium.

“We really feel like we are making a difference in people’s lives.”

The team, which launched in June 2012, has already seen almost universally
positive feedback from service users and carers, who have praised:

  • the time DIST staff spend with service users and carers when they first come
    into the service
  • the explanations they received about treatments
  • how involved they felt in decisions made about their care
  • the way their opinions and wishes were listened to
  • the positive impact the service has had on the health and wellbeing of the
    patient’s relatives.


Debbie White, Director of Operations, explained: “Where anyone has a long-term
condition that makes them vulnerable to hospital admission or injury, then having a
skilled team in place to provide treatment that is coordinated and properly planned,
can really improve their quality of life.

“This is our primary goal in the DIST; to keep people in their homes for as long as
possible, surrounded by friends and family, but in a way that provides the care they
need to live well with dementia.”​