The delivery of a person-centred, Food First model of care, for people living with dementia in Highland social care settings

National AHP Dementia Webex Series

The Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in Dementia webex series was launched in December 2018. It had been identified that the AHPs would like the opportunity to hear more from their AHP colleagues about areas of good practice and quality improvement in dementia. It was agreed to trial the use of webex in order to make this as accessible as possible. We also wanted to support the delivery of Connecting People, Connecting Support (Alzheimer Scotland, 2017) Ambition 3: AHP workforce skilled in dementia care where an action for change included:

“The Alzheimer Scotland AHP dementia forum will work collaboratively to ensure a national approach to…..sharing best practice…..”(2017:42)

Wendy Chambers @wendyAHPDem facilitates the bi-monthly webex on behalf of the AHP Dementia Forum and the presentation in November 2019 was on the topic:

The delivery of a person-centred, Food First model of care, for people living with dementia in Highland social care settings.

The Webex was hosted by:

Evelyn Newman @evelynnewman17, Nutrition and dietetics advisor, Care homes, NHS Highland

The presentation can be found here:

A newsletter sharing ‘Nutrition News’ can be found here:

Following the webex, the participants are asked to complete a short evaluation with the following 3 questions in order to ensure that is effectively sharing best practice and meeting learning needs:

  • Something you liked about the Webex?
  • Something that would have made the Webex even better?
  • Something you might change or test in your service/practice from being part of the Webex today?

The webex was hugely popular with 135 people registered, linking in from across 13 Board Areas and across a range of professions and settings. Participants fed back that they enjoyed hearing about the person-centred approaches, the different settings considered and the involvement of students to name a few. The webex generated lots of change ideas for people to try in their own areas.

We will continue to Blog about the AHP Dementia Webex series and will share information from these. The first webex of 2020 is scheduled for Wednesday 26th February from 3.30 – 4.20pm and is on the topic:

Does the use of a simple communication tool improve personal outcomes for people with cognitive &/or cognitive communication difficulties in the journey from hospital to home – Guest presenter –Gill Main, Speech and Language Therapy service, NHS Ayrshire and Arran 

Further information, joining details and previous presentations can be found on the AHP Dementia Community of Practice (National AHP Dementia Webex):

A big Thank You to Evelyn and Wendy.

And a big Thank You to everyone involved in making the AHP Dementia webex series a huge success with such wide reach. We look forward to sharing more best practice and connecting during 2020!

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Allied Health Professionals – Who are they and how can they help you if you are living with dementia?

The Scottish Dementia Working Group(@S_D_W_G) is the national independent voice of people with dementia within Alzheimer Scotland and they supported our AHP dementia policy “Connecting People, Connecting Support” by offering a comment that included:

“How will we know Connecting People, Connecting Support is working?  We’ll know when we understand who AHPs are, what they can do, how we can get to them, and what they can do for us and with us. When it’s working, our resolve to ensure we can access wider support to help us live as well and as independently as possible will be strengthened, realising our human right to get the services to which we are entitled. Connecting People, Connecting Support gives us a lever to gain maximum benefits not just from AHPs, but from the whole health and social care system.”

(Alzheimer Scotland 2017:48)

In this week’s blog I’m sharing how we are working with our allied health professionals in Scotland to share, who AHPs are, what they CAN do and how to contact an allied health profession if you are living with dementia or supporting someone with dementia. 

Allied Health Professionals

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) are a group of various health professionals who can support you if you have dementia. They are often referred to as AHPs and are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)  AHPs are experts in prevention and rehabilitation and will help you focus on your abilities and strengths so you can stay connected to your community and live in your own home for as long as possible.  It’s best to make early contact with an AHP if you are worried about your memory or if you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed with dementia. That way you can get the information, advice and treatment that is right for you and your family as quickly as possible. 

Get support from an AHP: An AHP leaflet

There are several different kinds of AHP’s and we developed a leaflet about those you are most likely to see in a community setting and who will able to offer you a service tailored to your individual needs as outlined in the AHP Approach in dementia.


The full details of the AHP approach can be found at

The AHP leaflet describes how AHPs can help and how can contact an AHP. The AHP leaflet is available here.

Get support from an AHP: AHP postcards

We have worked in partnership with dietitians, music therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and speech and language therapists to design and share postcards that all have positive messages, sharing who the individual professions are and how they CAN help.


To have a look at the six AHP postcards we have designed and shared so far, click here and you will find in the main body of the text, the  individual professions, click on a profession and you will be able to have a look at their  postcard. We are working with the other AHP groups to add to our AHP postcard information.

Get support from an AHP: AHP Self-Management Leaflets

Our AHP self-management leaflets, is a new and developing area of work for us.  Occupational therapists have begun the work and have designed top tips for you to manage day to day, to stay active and keep connected with your local community which you can download here.

We have more plans and ideas to develop this work further in 2020 and will share this in further blog posts and at @AHPDementia.


Our AHP leaflet, AHP postcards and AHP self-management leaflets, we hope begins to share who allied health professionals are and how we CAN help. However, we know there is still much to do to ensure the skills and expertise of the allied health professionals is both visible and accessible when you are living with dementia or supporting a person with dementia.  We want to continually improve what we are doing, so when we share the resources, we also ask

  • What did you like?
  • What would make the resources even better?
  • From the information provided, what’s missing?

What would you reply to these three questions be?

Thank you to all the allied health professions and their professional bodies for supporting the design, content and inspiration for this work. If you’d like a copy or further information of any of these resources, visit You can also find other useful resources here.



Elaine Hunter @elaineahpmh

National AHP Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland.

Alzheimer Scotland & Physiotherapy

My name is Calum Lawson and I am excited to be getting the chance to write this week’s blog. My opportunity to work in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland has come about through my university course in Pre-Reg Physiotherapy at Edinburgh Napier (MSc). I have previously completed a BSc in Sport Injuries. My physiotherapy placement at Alzheimer Scotland is an assessed placement which will last for 8 weeks in total, ending on the 13th of December. I am in the last few weeks of my first year of study in what will be a two-year course.

In this blog, I will share my role as a physiotherapist student and use this to formulate goals from my first few weeks. I will also touch on how physiotherapy is relevant to dementia after explaining my perceptions of dementia before joining this third sector organisation. I hope to follow this up towards the end of my placement with another blog which will say if and how I have achieved my goals, with a more in-depth description of what parts of Alzheimer Scotland I managed to see.

Already it is clear that the third sector are great at interdisciplinary working. The professionals and volunteers cooperate and do a great job of providing support in a number of ways. I am mainly based in day care at Alzheimer Scotland which also helps facilitate community services and includes therapeutic interventions like gardening clubs, Zumba classes and brain gyms.  Activity levels are high due to the activities on offer, but an exciting opportunity is presented for me as I am the first person with a physiotherapist background who has been involved in this service. My first few weeks were really just to observe the activities and how well they work with the people who attend. I feel I can engage with, reflect and then adapt the exercises. I also felt a responsibility to fit in any fall risk assessments if necessary.


I am now in my fourth week, and although it is my first insight to the Third Sector, it is not my first experience working with people with a dementia diagnosis of some form. In previous NHS placements, people were living with dementia in the patients that I have treated. It gave me a perception of how we can work with people living with dementia in our role as physiotherapists, even when that was not the main reason for coming to a physiotherapy service. Being on placement in Alzheimer Scotland has already taught me there is so much potential with how we can work with people with dementia as a physiotherapists. Physical and social activities can still play an integral role in improving and maintaining a high quality of life and a physiotherapist can help introduce or adapt safe and meaningful practice.

During my placement, I have also organised several shadowing days with physiotherapists in the NHS and other teams in Alzheimer Scotland and I will also be integrating our evidence-based practice where-ever I can. I will also make it my aim to spread the word about what a physiotherapist CAN do for the people living with dementia, gaining invaluable feedback on how information is presented, measuring how useful and relevant it seems to people living with dementia. The feedback will not only be from people with lived experience, but also colleagues and professionals in and around the service that I am located at. This can give me something to look and possibly improve in my time here.


During the next five weeks of my placement, I will be leading the @AHPDementia Instagram page. This will give me an insight into the thought that needs to be put in place to have an efficient online presence, to share the work of Alzheimer Scotland while also to highlight the relevance of physiotherapy to a wider audience that could include other health professionals. A ‘true / false’ and ‘weekly summary’ relating to physical activity will be my theme and will run from week 6 until the end of my placement. This will be an attempt to remove the any potential misunderstanding in place when physiotherapy and dementia are mentioned in the same sentence. So, follow me on Instagram and let me know what you think.

Calum Lawson
Physiotherapy Student, Edinburgh Napier Student

Occupational Therapy Home Based Memory Rehabilitation – A post diagnostic improvement project Workshop


At the beginning of October 2019, we welcomed an enthusiastic group of Occupational Therapists to the Occupational Therapy Home Based Memory Rehabilitation (OTHBMR) improvement project workshop.  On the day, there was around 60 Occupational Therapists in the room with around a further 15 video-linking in.  There was representation from across Scotland, South Wales, Brighton and the USA.

We connect on a regular basis via a variety of methods such as NHS Attend Anywhere, telephone calls, email groups and social media.  In addition to this, it had been identified that it would be worthwhile to meet as a group in order to continue to develop impact to local services and to identify potential future actions.


The day started with Elaine Hunter, AHP Dementia Consultant reminding us of the context of this work and the importance it plays in enhancing access for people living with dementia as outlined in Connecting People, Connecting Support (  We will share an overview of what the workshop included:

Appreciative Inquiry: experience of integrating OTHBMR into everyday practice

Appreciative Inquiry is about having deeper conversations, it is about the search for the best in people, their organisations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them.  Thank you to our facilitators who enabled everyone have their voices heard.  It was evident that there was great levels of engagement and positivity in the room. 

Measuring the impact of integrating HBMR into everyday practice

Jan Beattie, AHP Professional Advisor Primary Care facilitated this session.  She challenged and inspired the group, drawing on the commitment in the room to demonstrate and share the impact of OTHBMR.  Jan left the group thinking about the wider potential and “What If?”

Collaborating with national and international partners

The OTHBMR improvement project is continuing to grow and evolve and we heard from two of our new partners around how this is being implemented in their areas.

Zoe and Kathryn who had travelled from South Wales shared the importance of influencing and visibility in order to align the work with the Dementia Action Plan 2018 (Wales).  New Services have been established and OTHBMR is being tested across 4 localities.

Kate from LiveWell Alliance Inc, shared by video-link the context she is working within in the USA and how she is translating OTHBMR to this.

The place of occupation in Home-Based Memory Rehabilitation

Dr Gail Boniface who is delivering OTHBMR in NHS Highland provided a thought-provoking session around ensuring and communicating that occupation is at the centre.  This built on discussions we had been having prior to the day and finished with a call to action to “Stand by occupation!”

Steps of change

Concluding the Appreciative Inquiry and building on all that had been shared and discussed throughout the day, every workshop participant developed their small steps of change to take forward.


At the end of the day (and in the name of continuous improvement as we try to do with any events around the delivery of Connecting People, Connecting Support) all the participants were asked to note down feedback:

“something I liked about the workshop”                                                                 “something which would have made the workshop even better”

We hope this has provided an interesting overview of the workshop and the plan is to publish more in-depth blogs from the experts who delivered the sessions.  The themes from the Appreciative Inquiry have been collated and will be shared to compliment the many future actions already identified.

The feedback from the workshop has been very positive:

“All of the speakers and participants were so inspirational.  Take home message for me….highlighting that occupation is always our focus.  Very exciting time to be an Occupational Therapist working in dementia care.” (participant tweet following the workshop)

A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone involved in making the day such a success.


Alison McKean

AHP Post Diagnostic Lead, Alzheimer Scotland

#AHPConnectingPeople supporting #OTweek2019


This year’s theme for occupational therapy week is Small Change, BIG impact and celebrates the impact that occupational therapy has on people’s lives. I wanted to take the opportunity in this blog to share with you the role of occupational therapy if you are living with dementia or supporting a person with dementia.

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are experts in physical and mental health and social care. They look at your strengths and abilities, to help your daily occupations and activities. Making small changes to your home can sometimes make life easier, and they can provide special equipment or advice that might, for example, make bathing easier or cooking safer. If you find that remembering things is becoming a problem, they can give you tips on how to boost your memory. They can also discuss with you the impact of living with dementia while you are still at work. The occupational therapist can advise family, friends and carers how to support someone living with dementia as well as how to look after their own health. They can also suggest other services which may provide additional support.

Contacting an occupational therapist

Ask your GP, consultant or social work department. You can also link to an occupational therapist through your local Alzheimer Scotland service or community mental health team.

The Royal College of Occupational has some helpful resources on dementia

Top tips from occupational therapists when you are living with dementia

If you are living with dementia or know someone who has just been diagnosed with dementia occupational therapy can help.  Occupational therapists will consider all of your needs – physical, psychological, social and environmental. Their support can make a real difference giving a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way you feel about the future.There are simple steps you or a friend/family member can do, to help you manage day to day, to stay active and keep connected with your local community. Occupational therapists have provided top tips that you or a friend/family member can do to help you.

Staying active in everyday life

  • You have a future, hopes and dreams can still be realised.
  • Keep doing what you enjoy and what’s important to you.
  • Keep your routine going. Routines provide structure and familiarity.
  • Decide what you need help with and what you don’t.
  • Try something new.
  • Use technology, like mobile phone apps, to stay independent.

Taking care of yourself

  • Exercise, get out and about.
  • Eat regularly and have a balanced diet.
  • Stay connected to family and friends.
  • Keep talking. Let people know what helps you with communication.
  • Take time to relax. Be aware of how you feel, it’s OK to have time to yourself.
  • Try to do one thing at a time. Don’t put yourself under pressure.

What you can do at home

  • Use reminders for information, dates and appointments. Everyday technology can help.
  • Declutter so the objects you use every day are easier to find.
  • Use colour contrast to make objects stand out.
  • Remove trip hazards, like rugs.
  • Make sure rooms are clearly lit. Consider night lights.

Support from an occupational therapist

An occupational therapist can work with you to overcome the barriers that prevent you from doing what matters to you. Occupational therapy CAN help you to:

  • Use your strengths and abilities to stay active.
  • Adopt strategies and techniques to continue with daily occupations (activities)
  • Make changes to make life easier and to live safely in your home
  • Access your community, getting to the shops and local facilities.
  • Continue with valued roles, such as working or caring for others.
  • Advise family and friends on how to support you to live well with dementia.

Occupational Therapy Week isn’t only for occupational therapists, anyone can show their support for occupational therapists and the work they do. Follow the hash tags #OTWeek2019 and #SmallChangeBigImpact to see how occupational therapists are celebrating and promoting occupational therapy. You can also join us at @AHPDementia or on this blog, simply ask us a question and we will do our best to answer. #Thankyou



Elaine Hunter @elaineahpmh

National Alzheimer Scotland AHP consultant.