Recognition from the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards has provided a real boost to team spirit and lifted morale among those working at Torfaen Memory Assessment Services (MAS) and InReach Services during what’s been an especially difficult year.

In fact, so proud are they of their accolade that it’s displayed on a notice board for all to see.

Judges at the 2020 awards were impressed by the outstanding commitment and teamwork between multi-disciplinary staff from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, led by Sarah Evans, and the effective way they are able to deliver patient-centred care to people experiencing problems with their memory.

Since then they’ve continued to screen and diagnose all new referrals within a timely manner, using a mixture of telephone and ‘Attend Anywhere’ video consultations.

Visits have continued for crisis intervention sessions, which has kept hospital admission rates to a minimum, and nurse lead reviews have continued through telephone contact with patients and relatives. Close liaison with social services and the third sector has led to joint visits where needed.

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The team has used ‘Attend Anywhere’ to hold carers support groups and carers education groups, while ‘Rainbow Packs’ put together by occupational therapists have provided activities for lonely and agitated people known to the service.

“The duty desk for the Ty Siriol unit is manned by qualified staff between 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday and staff respond to urgent referrals and queries from families and GP surgeries,” Sarah explains.

“This service has also supported the reduced need for admission.

“Gradually services are starting to re-open and we have met with our local services to discuss what is available so that we as a team can refer people for more support within their community.”

The nomination for the MAS and InReach Team for the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards praised numerous examples of dynamic and effective teamwork.

“From the moment they enter the building the telephone honestly never stops ringing with requests for advice from social workers, GPs, third sector organisations, families and carers, and this is on top of their daily core business to provide an early assessment and diagnosis for patients with dementia,” the person recommending the team wrote.

Some 18 care homes are supported by the InReach team. Prior to the pandemic a study day was organised for care home staff in conjunction with CRUSE and bereavement in dementia - the first within South Wales. The team has also developed a dementia care mapping afternoon alongside a handbook for care home staff.

Members of Torfaen Memory Assessment Services and InReach team include Sarah Evans, Keith Wheeler, Deb Hill, Kay Desmond, Sheila Gingell, Ann Whichard, Jay Andress, Rachel Kaye, Suzanne Harvey, Kay Lowman, Gail Hern, Jan Collier, Dr Bapuji Rao and Dr Susaraji, with extra support provided during the pandemic by Donna Meadow Smith and Amanda Davies.