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Mental Health Concern

Gateshead Community Challenging Behaviour Service

Who is the service for?

We work with two groups of people:

  1. Families who are caring for a relative at home
  2. Nursing home staff caring for people with dementia whose behaviour they find challenging

The service is available to families and care staff working with people who have diagnosed dementia and are behaving in ways that are challenging. This is why referrals are usually made by health professionals such as GPs, psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses, or social workers.

What we do and how we help

We know that caring for someone with dementia can be very hard work. We also know that some people with dementia find it hard to communicate, can mistake what is going on around them, and can behave in ways which are difficult to cope with. Such behaviours can include:

  • Being aggressive, with words or physical violence
  • Having an unsettled sleep-pattern (up through the night)
  • Repeatedly asking the same questions or doing the same actions
  • Frequently wandering out of the house, alone and unsafe
  • Unwelcome sexual behaviour
  • Not caring about personal hygiene, or getting very upset when being assisted to meet these needs
  • Constantly following or ‘shadowing’ other people

By giving practical advice and hands-on support, we aim to reduce the impact of these challenges on caregivers and, where possible, prevent the challenges from happening in the first place. We want to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of the person with dementia, and of the people caring for them.

What kind of support will I get?

Whether at home or in a nursing home, we work with carers of people who have a diagnosis of dementia.

We understand that every case is different; it will take longer than one visit to develop an action plan. After the assessment, we will create a personal package that is suited to your circumstances. We will spend time with you, support you, and show you how best to care for the person with dementia – and specifically how to approach their difficult behaviours.

We provide:

  • a full assessment
  • advice and hands-on support
  • training and education
  • follow-up support

We aim to leave you with better ways to manage within 12 weeks.

How do I make an appointment?

Often the people we work with are already in contact with mental health professionals, who will refer on to us. If you are caring for someone with diagnosed dementia who is presenting with challenging behaviour and you are not in contact with a mental health professional, please give our contact details to your GP, who will be able to help.

What happens next?

Once we receive a referral, we will contact you within 72 hours. During the initial conversation, we will offer help and arrange a suitable time to visit. We understand that caring for someone with dementia is a 24-hour job, and sometimes it is during the early hours and through the night when help is most needed. In these circumstances, we can plan a visit at a time that suits you.

We may ask you some questions about any help you have received up to this point, and what you are finding challenging. On our first visit, you will meet at least two members of our team. We will work with you to create aims and goals and to find out as much as possible about the person with dementia – this allows us to identify the best way to help you.

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