Midland Heart

Midland Heart is one of the ten largest Registered Social landlords in the UK, and also one of the leading Care and Support providers. We currently have over 33,000 general need properties and deliver 6700 units of care and support services in accommodation-based and floating support services across 54 Local Authority areas. The current service delivery is split into specialist operational areas and includes Services for Older People, Homeless Services, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Services. We are currently developing a Dementia Strategy to help us become a dementia friendly organisation.

Updated:
21 November 2016
Location:
West Midlands, East Midlands, South East, South West
Sectors:
Housing Sector
Local Alliances:
Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance , Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance, Herefordshire Dementia Action Alliance, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Dementia Action Alliance , Lincoln Dementia Action Alliance, Northamptonshire Dementia Action Alliance , Nottinghamshire Dementia Action Alliance , Redditch and Bromsgrove Dementia Action Alliance, Sandwell Dementia Action Alliance, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Dementia Action Alliance, Solihull Dementia Action Alliance, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Midland Heart’s strapline is “Housing, Care and More”. We are an organisation which seeks out new and innovative methods of service delivery to ensure that we deliver “more” exceeding the needs of our customer group. We provide housing and care services to more than 4,500 customers over 65 and with an ageing population we recognise that an increasing number of our current and future customers may live at some point with dementia.

Furthermore, we know that dementia is not just a disease of the elderly and that some of our younger customers will develop early onset dementia. We provide support to 15,000 people each year and own and manage 32,000 homes across 54 local authorities. This gives us the opportunity to have an impact on a wide ranging and diverse customer base and to help those who do develop dementia to live well.

Our role is to ensure that our customers who develop dementia are able to have as much choice and control over their care and support as possible. We are committed to designing services that meet customers’ needs and individual aspirations. We recognise individuals as experts of themselves and see this as key to delivering person centered care.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

We face several challenges;

  • Stigma and discrimination – this can be caused by misunderstanding and fear. When communicating with someone with dementia for the first time people may be fearful of not behaving in the correct way and may feel threatened by the person’s actions and unsure how to react. This misunderstanding can cause friction between our customers. It is important to be mindful of confidentiality and customers rights to choose who they disclose to.  We must develop a culture which empowers staff and customers to communicate with people with dementia in a positive way.
  • Early diagnosis – our customers who live alone and do not currently receive support pose a challenge as changes in behaviour may go unnoticed. We will promote dementia friendly communities by educating our neighbourhoods
  • Safety – we must ensure safety of customers and staff whilst recognising that this does not mean eliminating all potential hazards but rather mitigating the risk to ensure individuals retain choice and control and are enabled to continue to do what is important to them
  • Ensuring that we remain person centered – it’s essential that we keep sight of who the person is and don’t get distracted by a diagnosis and let this shape their care.

2. Actions

  • Improving knowledge

    To become a dementia friendly organisation it is essential that we develop an enhanced understanding of dementia across our diverse staff and customer base. This will give individuals the confidence that this understanding brings to overcome fears and preconceptions they may have about people living with dementia. We have already begun to deliver Dementia Lunch and Learn sessions for staff at our offices and intend to provide more of these sessions. We are currently consulting with experts to identify a training plan.

    Status:
    Planning

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    New member

  • Raising awareness

    We have already begun to raise awareness both in our workforce and across our customer base. It is our intention to roll out further training and awareness raising events to staff and customers as we work towards becoming a Dementia Friendly organisation.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    New member

  • Living well

    We will continue to deliver person centred services with a co-production ethos. Our starting point when supporting customers is identifying their needs and aspirations and identifying what matters for them. By developing as a dementia friendly organisation we will enable our customers to retain as much independence as possible and to continue to live the life they want to as far as is practicable.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2015 - First Quarter Update

    Following on from our 'Living Well with Dementia' events in conjunction with dementia awareness week in 2014, we now feel our next step should be to focus on actions to improve our customers' experience of living with dementia. This will include exploring the use of a 'Green Gym' to enable our customers to enjoy our outdoor spaces with the aim of improving wellbeing and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    New member

  • Fundraising

    We will look to devise a fundraising programme for 2015 as part of our 'Give More' initiative which encourages employees to participate in fundraising activities to raise money for charities of which Alzheimer's Society is one of our chosen charities. Two members of staff are walking the Great Wall of China in October with the aim of raising £6,200. We will hold various other events across our services to raise money including cake sales, dress down days and quizzes.

    Status:
    Planning

    2015 - First Quarter Update

    N/A - new action

  • More accessible services

    In our bid to become a more dementia friendly organisation, we will be implementing dementia-friendly design aspects as part of the specification for future new builds. As an example, our newest extra care development in Cradley Heath has been built with a number of features such as the use of symbols and lettering in signage in addition to the contrast of colour schemes between flooring, furniture and the walls, all with the aim of aiding our customers with dementia. In addition, we will be consulting with people with dementia to make improvements to our Head Office design to ensure that the building is more accessible to all customers.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2015 - First Quarter Update

    N/A - new action