Major investment in Gwynedd dementia care

Date: 19/11/2018

A major investment on four new dementia units located in communities across Gwynedd will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet next week.

The report recommends that Gwynedd Council earmarks an annual figure of £808,000 to staff four brand-new specialist dementia units located at residential homes run by the authority.

With building work already completed on developing the specialist units at Llys Cadfan in Tywyn; Plas Hafan in Nefyn and Plas Hedd in Bangor thanks to funding through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund, the unit at the Council’s Bryn Blodau home in Llan Ffestiniog is expected to be completed by the end of June 2019.

These specialist dementia units form part of the joint efforts of Gwynedd Council working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to ensure that older people have access to the specialist care and health services they need within their community.

Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Gareth Roberts said:

“I am delighted that we are moving closer to delivering vital services that people need at the heart of our communities.

“By developing specialist units that are staffed with professional health and care staff, people living with dementia will be able to receive the care and support they need as close as possible to their loved-ones.

“Delivering the specialist care that people with dementia need can be very complex and we know that there simply isn’t the capacity at present within the private sector, especially in some of the more rural communities within Gwynedd. Too often, we have seen people with dementia having to seek the residential care they require in facilities far from their family and friends.

“Gwynedd residents have repeatedly told us about the grief and anguish caused by trying to cope with the effects of dementia on loved ones, which is often multiplied many times over by having to travel large distances to specialist care facilities far from home. I am therefore proud of the fact that we as a Council can develop vital services like these for our more vulnerable residents, especially during a time when local authorities are having to prioritise spending.

“By working with our partners in the health service, we aim to respond to the desires of Gwynedd people as we introduce our community-based approach to dementia care. These four purpose-built units located across the county will help to ensure that more Gwynedd people will be able receive the care they need as close to loved-ones as possible.

“We are confident that this model of working together with our partners in the health sector will be a major benefit to our local communities. As a Council, we will be monitoring the progress and if successful will be looking to extend the model to other parts of the county should resources be available.”

Ffion Johnstone, West Area Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Gwynedd Council to develop our dementia services within the community.

“Our key aim is to deliver care closer to home and this investment will ensure that those who are most vulnerable in our communities will have access to the specialist care they need.”

The construction work has been completed at the Council’s homes in Tywyn, Bangor and Nefyn. This work included adapting parts of the residential units so that they are suitable for residents with dementia.

The work includes extending the dementia facility at Plas Hedd in Bangor, and work will shortly get underway to extend the specialist dementia space at the Bryn Blodau home in Llan Ffestiniog.

Eric Williams, whose mother Elizabeth Mia Williams currently receives respite care at the Bryn Blodau care home in Llan Ffestiniog said:

“The respite care that mam has received at Bryn Blodau has been a fantastic help to us as a family and the staff there have our utmost respect. Knowing that she is receiving such fantastic care and support close to home, gives us all the peace of mind. It’s fantastic to hear that there are plans now to expand the facilities and that more families will be able to benefit from the first-class care available.”

The report will be considered by Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet on 27 November and if members support the recommendations, staff recruitment will get underway in early 2019.