Association of Ambulance Chief Executives unites against dementia for Dementia Awareness Week

Read the Pledge here

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) is one of three national organisations representing all emergency services across the UK this Dementia Awareness Week (14-20 May), by signing up to Unite Against Dementia today (Thursday 18 May 2017).

AACE, the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) met with leading dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society to sign a strategic commitment to work towards being dementia friendly organisations by internally developing their people, places and processes and externally ensuring a dementia friendly service is delivered to people who come into contact with the emergency services.

Following this commitment, all ambulance fire and police chiefs across the UK will now be encouraged to come together and sign the commitment at a local level.

The project has been led by Assistant Chief Fire Officer Sean Bone-Knell, the Director of Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue and lead for public services on the Prime Minister’s Challenge group. This group, formed in 2012 is striving to increase the number of dementia friends and dementia friendly communities across the United Kingdom. 

The commitment from emergency services will help bring Ambulance, Fire and Police services together to help support people living with dementia and those caring for people living with dementia in a more cohesive way.

The commitment has been signed by the following leaders representing their professional organisations:

Will Hancock (AACE), Roy Wilsher (NFCC) and Mak Chisty (NPCC) sign the United Against Dementia Commitment

Will Hancock, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Service and national lead for this work on behalf of AACE said:

Ambulance services across the country are committed to delivering in partnership with emergency and other services, the best possible care for those living with dementia. Supporting and caring for those with this debilitating and progressive condition needs a cohesive approach and signing up to this strategic commitment will pave the way for this to be implemented at a local level.

Best practice guidelines for the care of Dementia patients and their families will now be adopted by every single ambulance service. This will undoubtedly help to ensure that in conjunction with our emergency services partners, we are offering better care, support and understanding to those who are potentially suffering alone.

Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

Dementia is one of the greatest challenges we face in society today – it’s set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, with someone developing the condition every three minutes.

Yet at Alzheimer’s Society we hear day in, day out that people with dementia often feel – and are – misunderstood, marginalised and isolated. With the right support and understanding, they can continue to live fulfilling lives and make a contribution.

All individuals, organisations and communities have a part to play in tackling the devastating impact of dementia, so we’re thrilled to have worked with AACE to launch the Emergency Services Commitment. We must all unite now and take action to ensure all communities are open for people with dementia.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Sean Bone-Knell, the Director Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue, said:

Emergency services can support people living with dementia to improve the safety of their homes and make their lives as comfortable as possible. This is also reassuring for people caring for family members or friends. Developing our staff to know more about dementia is vitally important to take every opportunity to assist in whatever situation we encounter.

Emergency services are also large employers and developing our staff to understand how to care for people living with dementia is very important. Our support can be as simple as advice and guidance through to adapting or adjusting polices to give flexibility to staff caring for people in need.

Emergency services have a duty to collaborate and this joint commitment will demonstrate to the people we serve we are committed to developing our people, our places and our processes to stand united in the fight against dementia.”

Read more about Dementia Friendly Emergency Services here, and pledge your organisation’s support here.