Dementia Centred

Beverley Larkins's picture

By Beverley Larkins

August 2nd, 2016

Wrexham: Engaging care home managers

Wrexham Workforce Development has delivered one day dementia training courses for many years and in the last 4 years these have been attended by over 1,000 delegates from the private sector, voluntary sector and independent sector.  Delegates gave positive feedback about having learnt a great deal but over this period of time it was evident that this hadn't influenced any significant change in culture and the way that care was being provided.  

We are all very aware that providing care for those living with dementia will be at its best if everyone involved has a more in-depth understanding of not only the various types of dementia but how best to meet the specific needs of those requiring care and support.  Culture change is a long term process and has to be led from managers fully committed to the 'vision' who will allow their staff to put into practice what they have learnt. I also believe that we all have a great deal more to learn about the effects of dementia but more importantly about how best to support those who are living with difficult symptoms  throughout their dementia journey.”

This is where the Best Practice in Dementia care programme comes into its own.  In Wrexham we devised a strategy that engaged the Managers of Care Homes from the start.  We believed that in order for it to be successfully implemented managers who wanted their staff to engage in the programme should have insight into what the programme was about, the commitment they would have to give to support the staff involved in process and to have a better understanding of dementia by increasing their knowledge of the subject further.  

A two day management course was delivered on 19th and 20th January 2016 and those in attendance were then asked to forward expression of interest in the programme nominating a staff member within their team who would like to engage in the 6 month programme.  10 places were made available for this 'Facilitator' training.

CSSIW, CCfW and our in-house Contract Monitoring Officers were invited to attend the 2 day management course in order that they were aware of what our intentions were and what the homes participating in the scheme would be doing.

Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Councillor  Joan Lowe, Head of Adult Social Care Charlotte Walton and the press were invited to 'Launch' the two day Facilitator training which took place on the 23rd and 24th  March.  On the second day of this training most delegates had already forwarded the 8 names of staff they would be working through the 6 part programme with.  

Wrexham Training and Development has been extremely keen to support all those taking part and offered to organise 'Facilitator Meetings' to give those leading the programme (the facilitators) the opportunity to meet and share experiences, good practice and areas needing development. 

The first meeting took place in June.  Those who attended gave verbal feedback in relation to the progress made and those unable to attend have forwarded a progress report.  All agreed that the meeting was beneficial so a further meeting has been arranged for September.

Feedback from the facilitators exceeded expectation

I am very pleased to be able to share with you some of the key points highlighted:

* most have been 'shocked' to learn of the many different types of dementia believing dementia was the only diagnosis

* Delirium is now being identified and addressed promptly - staff are now informing nurses that this is the case

* Behaviour is being associated with the different types of dementia demonstrating a better understanding

* Families are now more aware as they are requested to input into the 'This is me' documentation recently introduced.  Staff are also more aware of the importance of gathering the information

* New residents diagnosed with dementia are being followed up to obtain the specific type of dementia in order to best support their needs

* Staff are benefiting greatly from the practical examples of how best to respond to react to difficult situations i.e. diversion strategies when a resident becomes agitated, calmer approaches

* Facilitators have observed those on the programme cascading their knowledge to other staff members

* Staff understand the need to respond promptly when residents start to become agitated to prevent the situation escalating

* One group were particularly interested in the affect medication has on residents

* Staff are now engaging more in activities with residents (specifically talking about their past)

We will continue to support those on the programme and look forward to the Award Ceremony, which we will organise towards the end of the year, on the successful completion of this Accredited Course by facilitators and their team members.

Ultimately I would like to thank those who are engaged in the programme and their commitment to improving the care provision of those living with dementia

DSDC has developed the Best Practice in Dementia Care programme to help you achieve national and regional care standards. The programme not only meets these standards but is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and City & Guilds

DSDC offers in-house training. With associates and partners working across the UK and internationally DSDC can work quickly and flexibly, delivering training in our building or at a location of your choice.