The Bella Vista Dementia Day Centre opened its doors to patients last month in a new project that has seen Gibraltar Health Authority professionals and the private sector join forces.

The new facility will offer 90 places to patients and will be managed by a private company, Meddoc, on behalf of the GHA.

Bella Vista, located at the site of the former Royal Naval Hospital, will provide a community-orientated model of care with the aim of enhancing the life of dementia patients and their families.

“In taking this pioneering step for care in our community, it was essential that we get everything right. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. “Gibraltar is a community that cares; I strongly believe in our extended family setup. Now, almost a third of all those who are diagnosed with dementia will be able to make use of the Bella Vista Day Centre. This will enable families to stay together for longer and will also take pressure off other areas of the GHA.”

The centre will also form the focus for a range of services such as a memory clinic (operational since last October), diabetes care, chiropody and other Primary Care Services.

Other facilities on offer include cognitive behaviour therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, recreational therapy, psychiatric treatment, nutritional planning and incontinence management.

The day centre has been designed to cater for patients with mild to moderate condition. The strategy consists of helping families take care of their relatives in their homes and offering respite services and support to families who can no longer cope on a day to day basis.

“The Bella Vista Day Centre represents a milestone in the care services. Our aim is to ensure that a patient diagnosed with dementia engages with the centre as quickly as possible, while their minds are still in reasonably good shape,” said Minister for Health and Care Neil Costa. “This is vital, because the anchor upon which we base all our subsequent interventions will come from their life experiences, their hobbies and activities. By means of memory albums, this can be beneficial to them, as it can help preserve memory function and develop social contact.”