Leeds dementia care pioneer in line for MBE

Barbara Hodkinson. Picture by Bruce Rollinson
Barbara Hodkinson. Picture by Bruce Rollinson

When Barbara Hodkinson received a letter telling her she was to be listed in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for an MBE, she shut it away in the drawer for three days.

As founder of the Butterfly Scheme 13 years ago, she has worked tirelessly to make sure dementia sufferers get treatment which is tailored to their personal needs.

Mrs Hodkinson, 58, of Adel, said: “I don’t want anything for me and then when I got it out a few days later and read it fully, it said ‘services for people with dementia’. That was the turning point. That’s definitely worth sticking up for.”

Mum-of-two Mrs Hodkinson noticed that hospital staff wanted to help her late mother Lavinia, who had dementia, but did not have the skills to.

A former teacher at various Leeds high schools, she set up the scheme by working with hospitals and carers to develop a three-part approach for patients who choose to opt in. It includes identifying patients with impaired memory through the use of the butterfly symbol on patient records; training for all staff who interact with dementia patients; and ongoing support and resources member hospitals.