Thompson Smith and Puxon
Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Solicitors is one of the longest established and largest firms of solicitors in Colchester and Clacton. We provide a range of legal services for individuals, business clients and organisations. We all need expert help and advice at some stage in our lives; whether you’re planning for the future and need wills and estates advice, buying or selling property, or need advice on contentious issues such as personal disputes, personal injury, clinical negligence, employment or family matters, the teams at TSP provide practical advice and guidance on the various processes and procedures involved. Our private client team in particular has extensive experience of working with older and vulnerable individuals and their families and carers. They advise clients on their Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, the registration of Enduring Powers, the administration of estates and Probate, tax and trust matters and Court of Protection cases. The team provides independent advice, which is in the older or vulnerable client's best interests, whilst respecting their dignity. They will take into account any difficulties a client may have, whether mental and/or physical when giving advice. Fiona Ashworth who leads the team is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly. She is also a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) as is colleague Aileen Hirst. Two of the team, Sarah White (Clacton) and Pragna Chhagan (Colchester) are Dementia Friends and all of the lawyers in the team have taken the Virtual Dementia Tour Training.
- 22 March 2018
- East of England
- Local Alliances:
- Colchester Dementia Action Alliance , Tendring 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?
When a person is first diagnosed with the onset of dementia it is important, if they haven’t already done so, to make decisions about the care they want in later life and who they want to help them make important decisions about their finances & property in the future. This can be done by putting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place, for both health & welfare and property & financial affairs.
When we meet with you we will ensure that you have enough information and advice to make decisions about managing your affairs, both now and in the future, as your dementia progresses. We will be as helpful and supportive as we can to both you and your family and friends and will help family members to fully understand the responsibilities that have been placed upon them when acting as your attorney.
When you see a member of our Wills and Estates team for legal support, whether to put LPAs in place or to write a Will, you will be treated with dignity and respect, whatever your circumstances. We want to make it as easy as we possibly can for you to access the legal support that you need. All of our staff have undergone disability awareness training and the lawyers in our Wills and Estates team have taken the Virtual Dementia Tour training. Our offices in Clacton and Colchester are wheelchair accessible and have a hearing loop available should you need one. We understand that you may not always be able to get to our office and if you are registered disabled or unable to get to our office because you are in hospital or long-term care, or confined to your home, then our team are happy to visit you at no extra charge.
Our team works closely with a number of charities and is able to sign-post individuals to organisations who can help to support them in other areas of their daily lives. We believe that research is key to improving dementia care and TSP is a keen supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society fundraising and awareness-raising events, and pleased to be members of the Local Dementia Action Alliance groups. We are committed to delivering better outcomes for individuals with dementia and their carers.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
The challenges we face, in delivering these outcomes, is ensuring we continue to train all of our staff, but particularly the members of the Wills and Estates team and our client facing administration staff, with the necessary skills to deal with clients with dementia and their carers sensitively and respectfully. They need to understand
• The disease and how it impacts the lives of individuals and their carers
• How to communicate with individuals with dementia, through both the spoken and written word
Improve our understanding of Dementia through continued staff training
In 2018, Sarah White (Clacton) and Pragna Chhagan (Colchester) will attend the Essex Dementia Conference on 21 February at the Earls Colne Golf and Country Club, hosted by Training2Care. At this conference they will see a new follow-up simulator that Training2Care have introduced. They will report back to the team / disseminate the information they have learned following their return. (Delivery agreed)
We will organise team training on "How to communicate with people with Dementia". This will be delivered at a Wills and Estates team meeting, and, if successful, will be rolled out to all staff. (Plan in place)
To support better outcomes for Individuals with Dementia and their carers
By supporting and attending meetings of the Local Dementia Action Alliance Groups in Clacton and Colchester and getting involved in promotional activities, such as speaking at events, to promote awareness and raise funds (Delivery agreed)By supporting the Alzheimer’s Society Fundraising and Awareness activities and through these activities promote dementia awareness to both our staff and the general public. (Delivery agreed)
In 2017 TSP supported the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day on 17 June, read more here. Plans are already in place to support this event again this year. We also helped to raise awareness of dementia through posts on our website and the use of social media in 2017 – read more here. Plans are in place to do the same during Dementia Awareness Week 2018.
To increase the number of Lawyers in our Wills and Estates team who are full accredited members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and for as many of the team as possible to become Dementia Friends
Team Leader Fiona Ashworth is a full accredited member of SFE. Initially two solicitors in the team, one in Colchester and one in Clacton will begin the process of SFE accreditation (implemented). The plan is that eventually all of the lawyers in the team will hold this qualification.
We also plan to encourage all of the team, not just our lawyers, to sign up to become Dementia Friends