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Woman's mobile dementia support plan inspired by care for late mum

PUBLISHED: 11:22 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:50 30 October 2019

The Dementia Support Team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

The Dementia Support Team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: NNUH

NNUH

A woman has pledged to set up a mobile dementia support van - dubbed the "Annie van" — in memory of her mother in an effort to help more families.

Annie Flaherty whose care for vascular dementia at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has inspired her daughter to set up a mobile dementia support van. Picture: Nicola KingAnnie Flaherty whose care for vascular dementia at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has inspired her daughter to set up a mobile dementia support van. Picture: Nicola King

Annie Flaherty, who had vascular dementia, was a much-loved mother, wife, grandmother and was a highly skilled theatre nurse and talented dancer.

The 77-year-old spent the last two weeks of her life at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and received support from the Dementia Support Team, nursing staff and palliative care before her death in January.

Her daughter, Nicola King, from Long Stratton, said their experience of the NHS, from first responders to A&E and ward staff at the NNUH who looked after Annie, had inspired her to start fundraising to help.

Nicola, who's both parents had dementia, said she wanted to give something back by establishing a mobile carers' information service - which she has named the "Annie van".

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She said she would never forget the care her mum received on Langley ward and from the Dementia Support Team who tailored activities to Annie's interests such as playing her favourite music.

"From the moment mum was admitted, she got her identity back, she was Annie again. They saw past the illness she had and they just saw her," she said.

"We were always treated with respect and understanding at NNUH and so was my mum. The staff were exactly the kind of people that my mum would have wanted to care for her. Everyone deserves the help and care from a dementia team like the one here."

"It was the continuity of care that impressed us - they were never too busy and nothing was ever too much trouble and the ward staff were exactly the same."

The fourth National Audit of Dementia recently ranked the NNUH top in two out of seven categories for nutrition and for the way it is governed to meet the needs of patients with dementia.

The audit, commissioned by NHS Improvement and NHS England and managed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, looked at hospital data as well as speaking to NNUH staff and carers.

Liz Yaxley, Dementia Services Manager at NNUH, said: "This is fantastic news which shows the commitment of all our staff to providing the best possible care and support for patients living with dementia."

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