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MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT SUPPORT SERVICES DEVELOPMENT IN OLDHAM

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Abstract

The Poster will present our project on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and its developments. Oldham Memory Assessment and Treatment Service provides a good range of services for people with dementia and their carers, but nothing has been created for people with a diagnosis of MCI until now. Aware of this lack, we decided to run a focus group for MCI patients and their carers in order to explore which are their needs and to understand how we could help them. We had a couple of ideas in mind: a memory support group and drop-in sessions. We wanted to welcome new ideas too. The focus group has been successful, the attendees felt it was a very important occasion to meet and the need for support was underlined, especially in regard to the uncertainty of this diagnosis. We decided to run a “MCI Strategy and Support Group” which is a pilot group that started on the 17th of May and ended on the 23rd of June 2016. The group run for six weekly sessions, two hours per session, and it was open to both people with MCI and their carers. Every week a different topic was presented. The Poster will include the group evaluation data alongside the description of the all project.
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The Poster will present our project on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and its
developments. Oldham Memory Assessment and Treatment Service provides a
good range of services for people with dementia and their carers, but nothing
has been created for people with a diagnosis of MCI until now. Aware of this
lack, we decided to run a focus group for MCI patients and their carers in order
to explore which are their needs and to understand how we could help them.
We had a couple of ideas in mind: a memory support group and drop-in
sessions. We wanted to welcome new ideas too. The focus group has been
successful, the attendees felt it was a very important occasion to meet and the
need for support was underlined, especially in regard to the uncertainty of this
diagnosis. We decided to run a “MCI Strategy and Support Group” which is a
pilot group that started on the 17th of May and ended on the 23rd of June 2016.
The group run for six weekly sessions, two hours per session, and it was open to
both people with MCI and their carers. Every week a different topic was
presented. The Poster will include the group evaluation data alongside the
description of the all project.
Abstract
Project
Conclusion and Future Steps
Following the success of the pilot “Strategy and Support Group”, we are going
to continue organising more groups. Because of the complexity of MCI
diagnosis, we want to keep a flexible format and we continuously look for other
colleagues with which to share experiences and ideas.
In order to reach more people, we are going to run drop-in sessions in various
Oldham’s areas. As Alessandra is part of “FPOP MCI Workstream”, our
progresses will be easily shared with other colleagues nationally and we hope
to contribute to developments in post-diagnostic interventions broadly.
Contacts
Alessandra Merizzi: alessandra.merizzi@nhs.net
Claire Evans: cevans17@nhs.net
Focus Group: There were 78 people diagnosed with MCI in Oldham and we
invited them all to attend the focus group. 18 people were present at the
event. The focus group was two hours and a half long and the programme
included: information about MCI; sharing of experiences of living with MCI both
in small groups and all together; an exploration of needs; proposing our ideas
and welcoming other ones about starting new post-diagnostic services.
During the focus group emerged that: both carers and people with MCI need
support and more information, in particular carers to learn how to cope and to
be more patient and people with MCI to learn practical strategies. We
received very good feedback from the evaluations, see table below
(Scale: 1 = Definitely Not to 5 = Definitely).
Seven people (39%) reported that meeting other people with the same
diagnosis is beneficial to them and a couple of persons specified the
importance of having a separate space for carers.
Post-Diagnostic Support Group: Following the focus group we wanted to start a
pilot support group: “MCI Strategy and Support Group”. We sent out invitation
to everyone again (updating the list of people with a diagnosis of MCI the
number of invitation increased to about 110). The group was attended by 14
people, 9 patients and 5 carers. Three people dropped out for health related
reasons, so the final group was of 11 people, 7 patients and 4 carers. The
programme was as follows:
Week 1- Introduction and what is MCI?
Week 2- Memory and other thinking abilities
Week 3- Strategies day 1
Week 4- Stress and emotional wellbeing
Week 5- Strategies day 2
Week 6- Health and wellbeing
The plan was developed following a literature review and other information
and experiences that other NHS colleagues from Kent and Medway NHS and
Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and from CMHT (Older People) Bury -
shared with us. We choose then the main important topics: to give information
about MCI and modules of memory; to teach tips and simple memory
techniques to use in daily life; to give information about how emotions and
stress affect our brain functions and to teach relaxation techniques; and finally
to promote a healthy life style. It was interesting to hear the range of
experiences and challenges and because of this we tailored the group to
meet individual needs. As in this group everyone was having memory difficulties
and even some carers were concerned about their memory, during week 3
and 5 we focused on teaching memory aids and strategies.
Alessandra Merizzi (Assistant Psychologist), Claire Evans (Memory Liaison Practitioner)
MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT SUPPORT SERVICES
DEVELOPMENT IN OLDHAM
The need of separation between carers and patients is a very important aspect
that we observe also in dementia post-diagnostic support groups. Carers and
their loved ones have different concerns and challenges that might bring
conflict and for this reason they feel the need of a separate space. As we
heard this need strongly from some people during the focus group, we wanted
to plan Sessions 3 and 5 only for people with MCI, and a split of the group
between carers and people with MCI during week 4. For several reasons it was
not possible to respect this plan: carers wanted to attend the strategies sessions
and because they were a very small number (not everyone was present) we
welcomed them to stay; during week 4 we had a very small attendance due
to several unpredictable reasons, so we stayed all together.
The group efficacy was assessed every session using evaluation forms and it
was observed an increase in mean related to the item “How useful was your
overall experience of the session?”, see table below (Scale: 1 = Definitely Not to
5 = Definitely).
Due to a low number of people, evaluation data of the 07th of June are
missing.
We received a very few critiques from the attendees related to the
environment and none concerning the support group structure and
programme. Some comments are:
“Finding that MCI is more common than I thought, that people are
very keen to talk about their own MCI”;
“It is helping me to realise I am not stupid, but need a help in right
direction”;
“I feel a lot more confident than I did when I first started the course”.
From the final evaluation a couple of people underlined that it would be good
to have some one-to-one space. This is an aspect that we already include in
the dementia post-diagnostic support group and it results a precious
alternative help. We need to include this option in future groups reminding the
group that this is possible. From notes taken during the last session attendees
reported that they are:
Feeling much better
Not feeling on my own
Aware of what is wrong with me
No more feeling so embarrassed
Not worrying about things as much
Much improved
Relaxation has helped to stay calm
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