The Northern Trust has three dementia navigators working across the Trust area.
They have two main roles:
- To support people in preparation for a memory assessment.
- To offer post-diagnostic support for people newly diagnosed with dementia (who do not have/require a ‘named worker’ within a Trust team).
The navigators work alongside the ‘Memory Link Worker’ in their areas, and are all social work trained.
For those with no named worker who receive a new dementia diagnosis the navigator will make contact with the service user, offering a home visit. At this visit they create a person-centred support plan, which takes into consideration what the individual likes and enjoys, any hobbies or interests, what and who is important to them and importantly what they don’t like and is likely to cause upset or frustration.
The navigator will also signpost the service user, their carer and family members, to appropriate services in the voluntary/community sector.
Carers can be offered a carers assessment and relevant education regarding the dementia diagnosis if wanted.
After this post-diagnosis visit, the navigator will review the service user again after three months and then six monthly after that. The service user and their family will have the contact number of the local memory link worker who can be contacted to answer questions, discuss concerns, etc.
Due to the deteriorating nature of this disease, it is important to recognise and react to any changes as quickly as possible. The service user’s carer, family or memory link worker will inform the navigator of any deterioration and the navigator can visit the service user relatively quickly and complete a needs assessment, and if necessary can refer people straight into the Trust’s Community Mental Health Team for Older People.
The aim is for people to feel supported and able to contact the navigator and / or memory link worker if there is a problem rather than wait until they feel unable to cope.