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Touchstone Kirklees

Touchstone has been delivering mental health and wellbeing services to the diverse communities of Leeds for over 20 years. Today Touchstone delivers a wide range of services, such as the BME Dementia Service, Housing, Carers, Sikh Elders Service, Self Directed Support, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, Community Development, Health Promotion and Mental Health Support. In Kirklees, Touchstone delivers the Independent Mental Health Advocacy service and alongside this the Mental Health Specific Peer-Led Brokerage service. Staff and volunteers support individuals who are experiencing mental health difficulties, including dementia, to exercise their rights, make informed choices, speak up for themselves and take greater control of their lives. Touchstone brings an exceptionally strong, credible and well-respected reputation in Leeds and Kirklees with diverse delivery of services that enables effective links across local partnerships.

20 September 2016
Yorkshire and Humber
Care, Health, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Action Alliance, Kirklees 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?

Our key role will be to build knowledge and understanding of the impact advocacy can have for people with dementia and their carers. Through our co-productive working style we will place individuals at the centre of their support planning, ensuring they retain the choice, independence, and influence that they want.

Through our existing networks we will be an exemplar of good practice to partners and communities in promoting the well being of people with dementia and their carers. We will help to facilitate access to the most appropriate services and share learning with partners, support providers and health & social care professionals. 

We will seek opportunities to offer peer support and we will encourage people with lived experience to have key roles in service design and delivery. Within our organisation we will offer training, information and advice about dementia to our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the creation of a ‘Kinder Kirklees’ and will actively participate in, and contribute to, local events and initiatives around dementia.

Touchstone is a specialist in delivering services appropriate for BME communities; we hold this at the centre of everything we do and will build it into our dementia friendly approach.

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

Our experience of delivering advocacy services to detained patients on hospital wards has highlighted challenges of the effectiveness of current dementia assessment and diagnosis practices. Referral routes can therefore be blurred and we are conscious that not all people are receiving the most appropriate level of care and support.

There are barriers for people who are detained under the Mental Health Act as this affects their independence and choice. We have also identified an issue with limitations on local choices of appropriate supported accommodation for those who are unable to live at home.

To perform their role in line with recognised good practice, advocates need to take instructions from the people they work with, enabling them to structure their support in the right way. There are therefore challenges with those individuals for whom communication is difficult or not possible. This also impacts people who do not have English as their first language.

Stigma remains a significant challenge, particularly in BME communities, and this restricts access for some who do not have the right information about where to seek support. BME people often experience more complex pathways to achieve a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment thus requiring more capacity and resource from services.


2. Actions

  • Improve our understanding of Dementia

    We will ensure all of our staff have received appropriate Dementia Awareness training. We will identify a ‘Dementia Champion’ within our team who will join the Touchstone org-wide Dementia Champions group to ensure Dementia Friendly principles are embedded across the organisation. They will also be trained to provide awareness sessions for staff, volunteers and other partners.     

  • Build dementia awareness into every aspect of service delivery

    Encourage the growth of peer support. Enable volunteers, service users and carers with lived experience of dementia to play a key role in service design and delivery. Develop ‘non-instructed advocacy skills’ amongst the team to ensure good service delivery is accessible to all.     

    Initial Scoping
  • Build effective networks to create a ‘Kinder Kirklees’

    Utilise existing contacts and develop new networks across services and professionals throughout Kirklees to embed dementia friendly working into all areas. Use the advocacy and brokerage services to share good practice and raise awareness. Learn from others within Touchstone’s existing dementia-specific services and also from our partners across Kirklees.