Reach Beyond and Open Doors Project

The Open Doors Service is based upon the promotion of living well with dementia.

and aims to literally ‘open doors’ for people with living with dementia, whose goals are to support the delivery, development and innovation of dementia services within Salford.

Open Doors aims to engage service users, carers, staff and citizens of Salford in working together to develop user/carer and public participation in mental health services for older people.

The Open Doors innovative and pioneering project has successfully appointed Kevin Barr and Michael Howarth as their Open Doors Support Network Facilitators. Both Kevin and Mike have themselves been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and now both work to support patients and their carers who have been diagnosed and are living with Dementia, they both have a specialist and privileged awareness and knowledge in relation to dementia and its effect on the individual and their loved ones. Finally, that effective collaboration and partnership working with both people with dementia and their carers leads to more meaningful and improved outcomes for both those affected by dementia and the services.

GMMH is the first NHS Trust in the UK to employ someone with Dementia. Both Kevin and Mike’s role to engage with patients and their carers and create a dedicated forum to give them a voice and somewhere to put forward their opinions has been well received and very successful, the benefits of this project have been immense for people living with dementia

In the last five years the Open Doors Service has been at the forefront of Dementia services in Salford. With the development of the Open Doors Dementia Café, 2 additional Post Diagnostic Support and Friendship Groups a Book Club/Reading group for people with dementia and their carers and most recently The Early Onset Dining Club.

The Service has also taken an active part and has been involved in research and education projects on behalf of the Trust and Manchester University.  Supporting the University of Manchester in a range of crucial research studies in order to ensure that people with dementia continue to receive meaningful evidence based care which has positive outcomes to ensure that people have every opportunity to continue to live well with dementia in both the present and the future.

Future plans for the service involve their participation in a major study which will explore, investigate and evaluate the role of the neighbourhood in the everyday lives of people with dementia and their families with University of Manchester and also working in partnership with the Salford Dementia Action Alliance who are committed to transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia in the UK and the millions of people who care for them.

Open Doors has been our most successful project to date. This service has allowed us to identify patients’ needs and hear their views about our services which will help us to make improvements in the future.

Volunteering Opportunities

Some of the different aspects of volunteering within the Reach Beyond Service include:

Ward Buddies

Salford Later Life Service has two acute mental health units situated at Meadowbrook and Woodlands in Salford. Reach Beyond buddy service has been developed to allow volunteers who are interested in giving their time to participate and support patients in relation to social interactions and activities on the ward and help to alleviate the loneliness and isolation some of our patients may feel and to encourage them to take part and contribute in the activities provided.

Interview Panel

Reach Beyond's ethos is to encourage service carers and members of the public to be an integral part of the service. When recruiting for new members of staff the recruiting process is split between two interview panels (Professional Panel & Reach Beyond Panel) that each holds their individual interviews. The Reach Beyond interview questions have been put together in consultation with patients and carers to address what they feel they would like to ask the potential applicants with regard to patient care, carer involvement, diversity, dignity and respect . Both respective panels then meet together to discuss and agree the successful applicant.

Consultative and Reader Team

As health services are continually undergoing changes and improvements to services, Reach Beyond Service patient and carer representation is requested for consultation to understand needs of the service and put forward views, concerns and suggestions. Your involvement can be in two ways:

  • Attend service meetings to gain a greater understanding of changes and to express views at these meetings
  • Reader of new information and literature being drafted by services who wish to clarify if the information is clear, understandable and precise

Dementia Driver Support

The Salford Memory Assessment (MATS) Team is based at our Woodland Hospital in Little Hulton and undertake all memory assessments for patients in the Salford area. Due to the large area of Salford we understand many of our patients find it difficult or are unable to attend appointments. We are looking to appoint volunteer drivers to assist patients to and from home to attend appointments.

To find out more about volunteering within the Reach Beyond Service please contact Cathy Riley: reachbeyond@gmmh.nhs.uk