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By DSDC Team

June 9th, 2016

Alzheimer Europe Conference Copenhagen 2016

We look forward to meet you to the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer Europe which takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark from 31 October–2 November 2016.

DSDC staff will be presenting on a variety of topics and will also have a stand at the conference. 

Here is a taster of the subjects we will be covering at the conference:

Parallel session 9: Hospital care II

An innovative approach to culture change in hospital acute and critical care wards:  the best practice in dementia care learning programme

Learning and Development Pauline Cameron

For over 25 years The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) has worked to support multidisciplinary practitioners, professionals and organisations to improve practice through practical research-based approaches that make a positive difference to people with dementia.

We know that people with dementia experience stress and distress when they are admitted for emergency care and that ill being continues and may increase following transfer to another ward or hospital department. One of the reasons for this is that the staff who care for them have poor understanding of dementia and its effect on a person. We recognise that staff are aware of their lack of knowledge and skills and that they experience stress because of it.

The Best Practice in Dementia Care Learning Programme is delivered in the workplace so learning has immediate impact on values, attitudes and beliefs about dementia and, consequently, on care delivery.  The content is patient-centred throughout, focusing on the needs of the person receiving care, and taking into account the experiences and observations of family carers. Participants are supported by a facilitator, who is also a colleague, to reflect on their own experience and consider how they might change their practice.

Since 2008, more than 8,000 staff have successfully completed the learning programme across the UK and internationally. It is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and City and Guilds. 

Evaluation has shown that learning has been received very positively by all participants. Staff report increased understanding of dementia and its effect on people and increased confidence when supporting patients admitted to hospital. Managers have seen the effects through whole departments noticing improvement in awareness of patient’s needs, team working, communication, morale and confidence

Parallel session 17. Training and education

Education of front line staff in residential care- a risky business for senior staff?

Professor Kevin Hope

Developing the knowledge and skills of front line staff is a well-developed and ongoing strategy for improving the quality of life for people with dementia. The Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling has been at the forefront of such activity through the auspices of its ‘Best Practice’ program. However, in dialogue with commissioners, awareness has developed of a secondary factor requiring risk management, namely the insecurities and ongoing support for senior staff within organizations whose staff are being trained.

Drawing on the experience of two case studies, one involving a private provider of residential care and the second a local authority driven approach, this presentation outlines the steps taken, in collaboration with the commissioners, to address such concern. 

It outlines the need to describe and explain the work staff will be undertaking, but more significantly, highlights the need for confidence development and knowledge updates focused around a biopsychosocial understanding of dementia. Doing the right thing (evidence based practice) in the right way (person centred care) forms the foundation of such understanding. 

Within this template, models of stress and distress as frameworks for understanding behavior that challenges as well as deeper appreciation of person centredness as a concept are well received. Specific updates on delirium, design for people with dementia and ways of working better with families were requested and addressed. 

Building on their development of knowledge, attention is turned to the managers’ significant role in subsequent practice development with concentration on change management and theories. Working through options and potential pitfalls, the opportunity is taken to highlight the need for, and where possible to begin to establish, support systems for these staff who will be facilitating facilitators.

Poster Presentation: Dementia Policies and strategies

Why we need better built environment design when considering neurological impairments: designing for the mind

Chief Architect Lesley Palmer

In 2012 the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (David Cameron) launched a national challenge to fight dementia. The key aspirations of this challenge being to improve awareness & understanding of dementia and to support those affected by dementia to gain equal access to support & care. 

In 2015 two important documents were published in support of the above; the Alzheimer’s Society UK sponsored the development of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS1365) ‘Code of practice for the recognition of dementia-friendly communities in England’ and; HBN 08-02 ‘Dementia-friendly Health & Social Care Environments’. Both documents acknowledge the importance of the design of the built environment to the quality of people’s everyday lives. 

There is rightly much emphasis placed upon how we deliver care but very little in relation to how we design better built environments when considering neurological impairments such as dementia. 

For over 25 years our multidisciplinary team of clinical specialists, architects and designers have been promoting the importance of design for people with dementia. We have developed a unique insight into what can be done to support people with dementia, based on research and evidence of what makes a difference. We have also developed a series of good practice design principles which when implemented into the design of our care or home environments, can support people with dementia to remain independent for longer. 

In a similar manner to the design evolution witnessed as a result of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) this presentation will consider whether the introduction of a building standard for designing for neurological impairments will promote better built environment design and whether legislating for such will encourage innovation & buy-in across the construction sector.

Living well with dementia: informal and formal strategies among people with dementia and carers in the context of a regional dementia strategy in Cumbria, England

Dr. Jane Robertson

Cumbria, the second-largest region by area in England, has developed its own dementia strategy mirroring the aim of the national strategy to improve support for people with dementia and carers. A programme of work to improve services and support followed the launch of the regional strategy in 2011 and a commissioned user engagement project in 2012 sought to gather service user experiences of care and support in the region.

The qualitative component of this project involved 19 interviews and 21 focus groups with 69 people with dementia and 84 carers in 2012 and 2013. Semi-structured questions focused on service user experiences and perceptions of services in addition to broader questions about how people lived well in their communities.

From the latter questions, data emerged about the strategies individuals and families developed for living well with dementia. People adopted a range of approaches for managing everyday life that involved an interplay of informal and formal strategies and supports. For instance, families would weave together different services such as home care and day care, along with practical and social support from friends and neighbours, to assist carers in having respite time and to support the person with dementia in accessing activities and places in their local community. As dementia progressed, strategies for managing within families became more fragile and difficult to maintain, and access to services and formal support became more important. Yet accessing appropriate services was often difficult for families to manage, with a variety of challenges around availability and integration of care at a point when people were often overwhelmed by loss and exhaustion.

From these findings, we conclude that more proactive and targeted support is required within regional strategies to develop capacity and enable access to appropriate services before informal strategies within families become too fragile and untenable. 


In addition to the above DSDC would like to highlight this session:

Parallel session 19 Dementia-friendly Communities

Creating enabling environments in historic cultural buildings – the challenges and the benefits.

Paul Hudson

In 2014 the King’s and Festival Theatres noticed that some Friends and Patrons who had supported the Theatres for many years had stopped attending performances. One couple in particular had played an active role in the theatre community and when they were contacted by staff it was discovered that the lady's husband had been diagnosed with dementia. As a result he no longer felt confident coming to the theatre.

Theatre staff asked the question: ‘is there something we can do as an organisation for people living with dementia to enable them to continue coming to the theatre?’

In April 2015 the Theatres received a three year grant from the Life Changes Trust to explore this question. At the end of the first year the Festival Theatre, with its 1928 auditorium and 1994 foyers had received a full audit by the Dementia Services Development Centre in Stirling. Working with people with dementia and using the audit as a guide changes have been made with dementia friendly design at its heart. This presentation will highlight these adaptations using the voices of people living with a diagnosis, their insights and experience of how these adaptations can remove the disabling effect the environment can have and how we can improve them even more.

In tandem to creating dementia friendly environments the Theatres now also have an extensive programme of dementia friendly events and will be hosting Scotland’s first Dementia Friendly performance of a major touring musical in October 2015.

Read more about this project on the guest blog post from Paul Hudson: Dementia Friendly Theatre

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Categories: Conference