Barbara Pointon MBE, whose husband's long journey of living and dying with dementia was the subject of an award winning ITV documentary, was one of the guest speakers at the Adult Social Care &?Health Dignity in End of Life' conference held recently at Eastwood Hall. Nottinghamshire.
The event, which focused on the importance of treating people who are dying with dignity and respect, was attended by family carers, health services staff, frontline staff from ASCH and private sector care homes and home care teams.
Delegates heard how Barbara's husband Malcolm died in 2007 after a 15 year battle with Alzheimer's. Barbara's moving, but sometimes harrowing account of nursing Malcolm, who spent seven years in complete dependency, offered many anecdotes and important advice on how to care for people with dementia.
Family carers and care home staff, she said, needed access to expert advice. Given that over 70% of GPs said they did not feel confident managing dementia, Barbara felt there was a strong need for primary care teams to have a dementia advisory nurse.
"Most people would wish to die with dignity, in familiar surroundings and in the company of those they love," she said. "Yet most people die in hospital. With better advice and support for those who care for them, whether at home or in a care home, more people would have their wish granted."
The dignity conference also heard from guest speaker Helen Scott, who works on the programme for improving end of life care across NHS Nottinghamshire and Bassetlaw, and Reverend Paul Bentley, chaplaincy and bereavement support manager for Nottinghamshire Community Health.