Director of Strategy and Engagement at St Luke’s Hospice Siobhan Horton is celebrating after winning the ‘Best Training Initiative’ award at the National Dementia Care Awards, which took place on Friday 13th November at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

For many years St Luke’s have been dedicated to improving end of life care in the local community and the Hospice is delighted to have been recognised nationally with such a prestigious accolade. The judges chose Siobhan because of her commitment setting up a team for educating professionals concerning people with dementia at the end of life.

Seven years ago Siobhan became aware of the inequalities experienced by people with dementia at the end of their lives. As a Macmillan nurse she recognised that people with cancer had a defined care pathway to enable them to access good palliative care and end of life care. However she was concerned there was an increasing number of people with dementia whose needs were not being met.

Hospices have traditionally not been able to support many people with dementia, but thanks to her knowledge and passion she has been able to set up a partnership with Dementia UK and neighbouring East Cheshire Hospice to improve care locally.

This multi-disciplinary team ‘Dementia End of Life Practice Development Team’ has been operational since February 2015 and is going from strength to strength. It provides training to local care providers like care homes and hospitals, and is involved in service development to improve end of life care for people with dementia. It promotes a palliative care approach for people with dementia, taking the holistic approach hospices offer out into the community. This is done by improving the skills, knowledge and confidence of professionals and informal carers/families caring for people with dementia at the end of their lives. Siobhan has linked the team to the local ‘End of Life Partnership’ to ensure that it continues to grow and develop collaboratively with other services.

This award will support Siobhan’s effort at a national level to influence the wider hospice movement, to better support people with dementia at the end of their lives.

Siobhan said “I believe hospices’ and palliative care approaches have a huge contribution to enabling and empowering planned, compassionate palliative and end of life care for people with dementia. However we need confident new ways of working and to develop entrepreneurial approaches together with colleagues from across social and health care settings; ways of working that attend to the scale of need population that are living with and dying of dementia. Our communities need us to be part of solutions to the complex car issues of current times.”

Andrea Fragata Ladeira, Chief Operating Officer at St Luke’s Hospice commented, “We are extremely proud of Siobhan’s achievement which is richly deserved and recognises the innovation, imagination, heart and vison of Siobhan, which is shared by St Luke’s Hospice.”