Care Homes

Care of the older adult has been my first passion since becoming a nurse 32 years ago.  Having left the NHS seven months ago (latterly as Associate Nurse Director/Lead Nurse in Ayrshire), I joined Erskine (aka Erskine Hospital) where I continue to work in an area of care that excites me. 

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To be realistic my knowledge of care homes was limited, my mum, who had dementia, had been in one for the last four years of her life, care there was good, but all I did was go in, visit my mum, make sure she was ok and had what she needed – she would occasionally come home for a short time, but she grew increasingly anxious when outside the care home, so the frequency of these trips out diminished.  I had little idea of the complexity of care carried out daily in the Home, in many ways I was like many of my NHS colleagues and some university lecturers (but that’s a story for another blog!), care homes were a foreign land.

So seven months into post what can I share, what have I learnt and what is next?

Firstly a little about Erskine, what made me want to go and work there – reputation – “it is Scotland’s foremost provider of care for veterans and their spouses, Erskine offers unrivalled nursing, residential, respite and dementia care in our four homes throughout Scotland for UK veterans”.  Ok, that’s the corporate lines, but what’s it really like?

Well, let me tell you – it’s a dynamic environment which focuses on habilitation, the maximising of our residents abilities.  Care is based on relationships, with a firm human rights foundation to our approach.  

More corporate jargon, Derek!, I hear you say, what does that really mean? 

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It means we strive to maximises the choices available to our residents: Atul Gwande in his book ‘Being Mortal’ described this as autonomy “you may not control life’s circumstances, but you get to be the author of your life, meaning you get to control what you do with them [circumstances]”.   Our approach therefore is based on choice, and that’s been the predominance of my experience thus far, it’s not corporate speel, it’s what our teams strive to deliver every day and it’s what makes me proud to be the Director of Care (but that also brings me great responsibility to maintain and develop services from a strong foundation).

At Erskine around 50% of our residents have a diagnosis of dementia, in some of the nursing Houses more than 60% of residents have a formal diagnosis of dementia. In these circumstances what does choice actually mean for a residents? 

It means being able to chose where, when and what to eat/drink (albeit with broad perimeter rather than unlimited) – it means that freedom to be involved (or not involved) in the many activities that happen daily – in their House or in the Activities areas each Home has. It means freedom to stay in their own room reading, watching TV, resting but it also means freedom to access outside space/gardens. 

I never worked somewhere that is perfect, and I still don’t, we know we can continue to develop and innovate, to learn new things that help and promote the independence and care of our residents – but Erskine has a wonderful foundation from which to build. 

I have one disappointment – if I ever choose to go into a care home I can’t go to Erskine – I don’t qualify to be a resident at Erskine, and I’m now too old to sign up to one of the armed services to give me eligibility – but I know what my benchmarks going to be if I’m looking for somewhere to go.  

Erskine is somewhat unique in the range of care opportunities we have on offer, almost 20 different direct care roles. We are also fortunate in having a willing and vibrant band of volunteers (>150) to provide day to day assistance (activities, therapy, drivers, porters etc) across the wide range of activities – they are wonderful people providing time, experience and enthusiasm which enhances the Erskine experience for our residents. 

Training and development are important for us – using the Promoting Excellence Framework as our standard we have trained all our care delivery staff to ‘skilled in dementia’ level; a number of staff have been trained to Enhanced level, however no-one is at ‘expert’ level (yet!). Once our new Dementia Nurse Consultant starts work with us in April we will begin the process of upskilling staff from across the organisation. 

The thirst and enthusiasm for knowledge and skills across the staff group is palpable. At a ‘Delirium/dementia’ training event we held two weeks ago, with around 100 of our staff, the overwhelming feedback was we want to hear and learn more, we want this session repeated across all staff groups. While everyone valued and appreciated the three technical (clinical) skills sessions staff were blown away with the Erskine relatives who spoke about things that helped and things that are less helpful, and of course they were engaged with Tommy Whitelaw who shared his own journey of caring for his mum Joan.  Compassionate, person focused care, built around relationships with our residents is the primary driver to our staff – these training sessions serve to further highlight their desire to continuously learn. 

The journey

So what’s next at Erskine?

As I said above we will be employing the UK’s first dementia nurse consultant based in and employed by a care home. The Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant model has shown great results across NHS Scotland. We plan to adopt that same expert lead, direct input (teaching, training and working alongside)  model but apply it within a care home environment. With up to 320 residents across our four care homes we feel there is always an opportunity to develop, to learn to be better. 

Seemingly little changes have been shown to make a significant impact – the removal of wooden fences and replacement with wire ones in some areas has opened and lightened a ‘new outlook’. John, a resident in Ramsay House now talks about the wildlife he can see, he endgames fellow residents encouraging them to look outwards. Every night he sits in the south dining room just so he can see out to the Erskine Bridge and watch the rush hour traffic travelling across the bridge. 

A simple thing like opening up the fencing means we have more useable garden areas, which in turn will allow us to develop more engaging and sensory based outdoor opportunities. 

We are in the process of developing a cycle path round the main Erskine Home grounds – again feedback from our residents was they hugely enjoyed the outdoor activity centre they visited throughout last year. Our approach therefore is to bring that choice of activity closer to our residents, to make it a day to day option rather than requiring a special trip out. 

In many ways the cycle path exemplifies Erskine’s approach – we approach issues with a can do ethos, even if some ‘can dos’ take a little longer to achieve. If it enhances the opportunities and choice of our residents, we are up for considering it. 

Jimmy, one of our residents said on the BBC documentary that ran last year “…one day I’ll be leaving Erskine, but it will be in a box” – in the meantime if you were to see Jimmy at the moment he’s going to have a ball until that day comes. 

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Jimmy and the 319 other Jimmy’s and Janet’s are wonderful reasons to get up every morning and got to work at Erskine.

PS: if you want to know more about what happens at Erskine you can follow us on Twitter @Erskine1916 or our staff Twitter account @erskineP2C or on my Twitter account @dtbarron

Derek T Barron

Derek T Barron
Associate Nurse Director/Lead Nurse in Ayrshire
@dtbarron

Having left the NHS seven months ago (latterly as Associate Nurse Director/Lead Nurse in Ayrshire), I joined Erskine (aka Erskine Hospital) where I continue to work in an area of care that excites me.

Our “Top Tips” for living well with dementia

Out and About

Who better to offer ideas on how to live well with dementia than the people living with dementia. Our Alzheimer Scotland Occupational Therapy interns have been working with the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) to co-produce a peer to peer resource of tips and strategies for people living with dementia. We are in the final stages of the leaflet going to print however in this week’s blog we are delighted to share with you a preview of the “Out and About” section.

Using buses, trains and taxis

Using public transport can be a daunting prospect, the following approaches work successfully for members of the group:

  • Keeping a card in wallet or purse with details of where a person’s final destination is, this will provide a reminder of what to ask for when purchasing bus or train tickets
  • Keeping ‘emergency change’ in wallets, pockets or purses can be useful to prevent a person getting caught short, or in the event that public transport needs to be used unexpectedly
  • Keeping a note inside bus pass of emergency contact and frequently visited places

Cark parks

  • Creating a ‘paper trail’ can be an effective reminder for where a car has been parked in a busy car park, for example leaving a can of juice on the roof of the car
  • Many mobile phones now have cameras, which can be used to take a photograph of where the car is parked to aid a person in finding it

Staying self and asking for help

  • Carrying a card with an explanation of dementia in a person’s bag, wallet or purse can come in handy should the person feel the need to explain to a member of the public that they have dementia, or if they need to ask for help
  • Keyrings can be purchased that hold details such as a person’s name and emergency contact information
  • Carrying a mobile phone can be valuable in an emergency or distressing situation. It is useful to programme speed dials for people to call in an emergency, so that this can be done quickly and easily
  • It is a good idea to have a contact stored as ICE (In Case of Emergency) within a person’s phone. The emergency services will look for this number should they be required to help a person in crisis

Keys

  • Bells on keys can be helpful for locating them within bags and pockets
  • Keys and locks can be colour-coded to make them easier to use (for example, yellow key is for yellow lock, pink key for pink lock)

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The 16 page leaflet will be available next month to source. However, when you see the leaflet, the hints and tips were the ideas of a subgroup from SDWG and you may also have hints and tips to living well. Please get in touch and share your ideas with us at sdwg@alzscot.org and add comments to this blog post

Thank you

Other useful information : Travelling Safely with Dementia by Scottish Dementia Working Group

Our updated version of our Travelling Safely with Dementia Leaflet has just been published – you can view a copy here by clicking the link Travelling Safely with Dementia Leaflet

It’s here! Our new Travelling Safely with Dementia video is now available to watch. The video features some our members talking about their experiences travelling and offers helpful advice. http://www.sdwg.org.uk/uncategorized/travelling-safely-with-dementia-video/

Allied Health Professionals: Maximising Psychological Wellbeing

Let’s face the music…

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After 17 years in engineering Ed Muirhead decided to follow his passion for music, enrolling on the Music Therapy MSc at Queen Margaret University. Ed is currently based at an Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Resource Centre for the duration of his second year placement and is really enjoying the challenge of working with music therapeutically in a variety of ways, particularly relating to dementia. In his blog this week, Ed shares a snapshot of music therapy in action.

Picture the scene, Harry* makes a joke about Gene Kelly, Nancy* laughs. Harry was saying he’s not seen Mr Kelly for a while. He talks as if discussing a friend he used to know, and in a sense that’s true – Harry is a dancer, in the past he took part in competitive ballroom dancing with his wife all over the country, long before “Strictly”.

We’ve just sung “Singing in the rain” – hence our discussion of Gene Kelly – it’s one of the songs Nancy and Harry particularly love to sing. Nancy’s voice leads us through the melody, Harry sings and adds rhythm too, the well-timed pattern of his tapping reminiscent of those famous dance moves on the wet pavement. The music has helped Harry connect with people in the room, and re-connect with memories from his past. Nancy’s face lights up as she sings, she says “I love coming here” and our group seems to become stronger each week.

During my placement as a music therapy student with Alzheimer Scotland, connections like this have happened several times already.

Music triggers memories and a certain piece of music may remind someone of a particular memory. We sing songs and make music with guitar, piano and percussion – the music is at a speed and in a key that suits the singers. Each person gets involved in their own way, whether that’s singing the whole song or just the chorus, playing harmonica or tambourine.

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By creating the music live, we can adjust the tempo slightly if required, or even change the songs as we please! For example, recently Nancy added her own words to “Que Sera, Sera” – telling us something of her story. Two weeks before, I’d suggested we write a song, but she’d said that would be impossible, and yet we found a way to begin – adding words to a familiar melody to help communicate. And it didn’t stop there, the next verse I added lyrics about Harry and his dancing, finishing with a verse about myself.

These are just two tiny snapshots of music therapy in action, tapping into something that may not be obvious when you meet someone with dementia. It seems that musical memories can be retained by the brain longer than other types of memory. And in recent research, music therapy has been shown to reduce depression and delay deterioration of cognitive functions, particularly short-term recall (Chu et al., 2013).

A few years ago I was inspired by meeting people with dementia, some who rarely spoke, but would sing songs from their childhood, bringing tears of joy to the eyes of carers. It was one of the key factors when I decided to change my career and train in music therapy, bringing a lifelong love of music into play in ways that can help others.

If I were to ask you today, “What’s your favourite music memory and why do you think it resonates with you?” What would you answer? What live music would you like to begin to play and sing?

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Reference

CHU, H., YANG, C., LIN, Y., OU, K., LEE, T., O’BRIEN, A. P. and CHOU, K., 2013. The impact of group music therapy on depression and cognition in elderly persons with dementia: A randomized controlled study. Biological Research For Nursing. May, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 209–217.

pic-3-convertimageEd Muirhead

Ed is a singer, songwriter and musician. He is a second year student at Queen Margaret University, working towards a Master of Science in Music Therapy. Ed is on placement at Alzheimer Scotland one day per week for the full academic year.

Ed can be contacted on twitter @ed_sings

Café Culture

Student Dietitians Learn from Experience at Alzheimer Scotland

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I really enjoy the initial moments of creating something new; envisioning potential, putting all the plans in place so that hopefully (fingers crossed), all will go well. But even better are the moments of satisfaction when plans have been realised and what was hoped for, has been achieved and more.

All 15 dietetics students currently in their 2nd year at Queen Margaret University recently took part in a learning experience that involved becoming a Dementia Friend (thank you Alzheimer Scotland’s Anne McWhinnie!) and a visit to one of Alzheimer Scotlands Dementia Cafes in the Lothian area (thank you to all of our Dementia Café facilitators too!).

With the help of a flipchart and pens, our feedback postcards and some evaluation forms too, programme leader Sara Smith and I met with students to hear feedback and to draw together all the learning. This was an important part of the educational process as well as giving us an opportunity to know more about how things had gone.

Because this was a new project, we were keen to find out as much as possible about how this experience had contributed to everyone’s learning. And I am pleased to say that the results are really very heartening.  It was exciting to see how much could be achieved through such a simple, focussed programme. Through bringing together dietitians at an early stage in their training with people at an early stage in their dementia diagnosis, we can work together to develop a better understanding of dietetics and dementia – for better experiences now and in the future. Below is just a summary of our conversation with those who took part:

Dementia

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Students felt that they had increased knowledge of dementia. They commented that people with dementia are not all affected in the same way by the many types of dementia and that dementia does not define people.

The trainees highlighted the importance of dementia being understood by the general population, of dementia friendly societies. It had been useful to hear real-life examples of living with dementia in the community.

They had observed helpful approaches including using music, familiar activities and reminiscence projects to help people feel comfortable, engaged and connected and also had a good awareness of the ways in which people can maintain a good quality of life post-diagnosis; the importance of keeping active and the potential advantages of using memory aids to help with daily living.

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It was suggested that this was an excellent opportunity to practice and reflect on communication skills, highlighting the importance of taking time and of patience in listening and responding. They also thought about the importance of conversing directly with the person in the presence of their carer.

Dementia Cafes

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The Dementia Cafes were described as: fun, varied, comfortable, social, familiar, consistent, supportive, empowering and as something for people to look forward to.   Educational aspects were identified: sign-posting and information sharing, therapeutic elements: activities to stimulate and help with thinking and remembering.  The importance of peer support for carers and people living with dementia was reflected upon, with students noticing that new and strong friendships had developed in the context of the dementia cafes.

Food and nutrition

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In a café environment, trainees were able to consider how dementia may affect the person’s relationship with food and to see how staff applied their knowledge to adapt the environment to help (using contrasting coloured plates etc.)

It was agreed that the opportunity to come into contact with people living well in the community allowed the students to consider their role in working creatively, patiently and in a person centred way to contribute to people living better with dementia from the moment of diagnosis.

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Knowledge & understanding

Students’ rating of their own knowledge pre and post visit (0= poor, 100= excellent) significantly increased across the board for the four questions they were asked, reflecting what came up in conversations – see table below

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Unsurprisingly, after sharing all their great learning, everyone agreed that overall experience of Dementia Friends Training and Dementia café visits, had been a success and that it should be repeated in future. We hope that the project can become an annual integrated part of what student dieticians do. We are also working with Sara to build on our work to offer further and more in-depth learning opportunities that will allow students to progress from informed to skilled dementia practice levels.

It has been fantastic to hear about students’ experiences of dementia cafes. We would love to hear about your experiences too – what has been important for you?

And if you would like to know more about our Dementia Cafes or would like to become a Dementia Friend too, here are the links to get you started.

http://www.alzscot.org/services_and_support/dementia_caf_s_and_community_activities

http://www.dementiafriendsscotland.org/

 

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Adrienne McDermid-Thomas

Alzheimer Scotland AHP Practice Education Facilitator

@adrienneahpmh

My role is to build on a programme of work of developing AHP student practice placements, an AHP internship programme and AHP volunteer opportunities in Alzheimer Scotland supporting the aspiration that all allied health professional students are skilled in dementia care on graduation.  I have had some really positive experiences of joint AHP working in the past and am very much looking forward to this further opportunity to work together with AHP colleagues and Alzheimer Scotland to develop ways of working which are sustainable and best suited to meeting the needs of people living with dementia and their carers and families.

“Is your health and care professional registered?”

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People living dementia and their families and carers come into contact with health and care professionals on a regular basis. Using a professional regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) gives you confidence that they meet our standards. The HCPC is a regulator, set up to protect the public. To do this, we keep a Register of health and care professionals who meet our standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health.

We currently regulate the following professions: arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists / podiatrists, clinical scientists, dietitians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists / orthotists, radiographers, social workers in England and speech and language therapists.

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Five things you need to know about the HCPC.

  1. We are a UK-wide statutory regulator of over 350,000 health and care professionals from 16 professions. In Scotland, we regulate more than 21,000 professionals. Professionals on our Register are called registrants.
  2. In order to remain registered with us, registrants must continue to meet the standards that we set for their profession. These standards are how a registrant’s ‘fitness to practise’ is determined.
  3. Our standards of conduct, performance and ethics are the threshold behavioural standards we expect of professionals on our Register. They were recently revised to make explicit the need to be open and honest when things go wrong, and particularly the need for an apology.
  4. If a registrant does not meet our standards, we can take action which might include stopping them from practising. This means that if you are unhappy with the care or services you are given, or worried about the behaviour or health of a registrant, you can always raise your concerns with us.
  5. We utilise a number of ‘HCPC partners’ to allow us to carry out our regulatory functions. These can be registrants, members of the public or legal professionals. They help us in a variety of areas ranging from assessing certain applications to join our Register to sitting and assisting on fitness to practise panels.

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Health and Care Professions Council

Park House

184 Kennington Park Road

London

SE11 4BU

pic-4-convertimageJonathan Jones: Stakeholder Communications Manager

jonathan.jones@hcpc-uk.org 

@HCPCstakeholder

Jonathan leads on stakeholder engagement activity across the UK. A requirement to engage and communicate with our stakeholders is set out in our legislation and in our organisational strategy. Our work includes monitoring legislative developments, working with employers of HCPC registered professionals and communicating our standards to our registrants, service users, carers and their families.

Let’s Talk about Dementia

 Your Top 10 of 2016

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In this week’s blog we are sharing your Top 10 blog posts of 2016, with an invitation to let us know what you would like to read about in 2017.  In no particular order here are the final five of your top ten

Scrapbooks of our lives “Defining who we are & bringing families and loved ones together” by @henryrankin52 https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/scrapbooks-of-our-lives/

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Henry Rankin wanted to share his speech that he and his daughter gave together at a Forget Me Not ball. Henry stated that the Forget Me Not ball was a fabulous night which he thoroughly enjoyed because  “it makes you feel like there is something special going on”. The speech takes the form of a conversation between Henry and his daughter as they come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia.

“Technology Enabled Care” for people living with dementia in Scotland by @JenniferRisk4

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/technology-enabled-care-for-people-living-with-dementia-in-scotland/

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This blog shares information about the first ever Technology Charter for people living with dementia in Scotland and the launch at the Scottish Digital Health Conference in Glasgow by noted Scottish journalist, Sally Magnusson. In the blog, we are sharing what the charter is and how we are “making it real”.

You can source a full copy of the charter here:

Connecting People Connecting Support by @AliAHPDem & @wendyAHPDem

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/connecting-people-connecting-support-2/

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Alison and Wendy talk about a workshop where they were welcoming over 198 people to Queen Margaret University, in partnership with colleagues from Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, College of Occupational Therapy, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust with a live stream happening at the same time.  We are connecting  people and organisations together with a shared interest in the occupational therapy contribution to post diagnostic support. You can watch the day on our live stream link www.video3uk.com/actionondementia. You click on the EventCast Tab and you will see the link to the live stream for the day called “Connecting People Connecting Support. Home Based Memory Rehabilitation” or you can follow us on our hash tag #OTHBMR.

Allied Health Professionals Maximising Physical Wellbeing WHAT IS A RADIOGRAPHER? by Caroline Handley

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/allied-health-professionals-maximising-physical-wellbeing-3/

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Caroline writes it is vital that radiographers and other members of the radiographic workforce are able to understand and support the needs of people with dementia and their carers. Not only is this because all patients are entitled to the best possible, personalised care but, vitally, understanding and meeting the care needs of people with dementia will ensure the best outcomes from imaging and radiotherapy. (Freeman 2015). Caroline also shares a copy of her professional body clinical practice guideline for the radiography workforce (imaging and radiotherapy) when working with people living with dementia. You can see a copy of the full guidelines here http://www.sor.org/learning/document-library/caring-people-dementia-clinical-practice-guideline-radiography-workforce-imaging-and-radiotherapy

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Allied Health Professionals : Adapting Everyday Environments “Keep on Cooking” by @nicoleKane_OT https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/allied-health-professionals-adapting-everyday-environments-2/

Nicole shares her work as an occupational therapy student while on placement with Alzheimer Scotland. “Whilst at a post diagnostic support group in my first week…, I was approached by a daughter concerned about her mother’s welfare; she was looking for ways to stop her mother cooking as she worried that she would endanger herself. Without thinking I gave ideas like removing visual triggers such as pots and pans, disconnecting the gas cooker ……but what if cooking is important for her mother? What if, cooking symbolises her mum’s role as a parent, a caregiver and a provider? As an aspiring occupational therapist should I not instead look for ways to enable safe participation in meaningful occupation instead of putting up barriers?” Nicole then shares five top tips to assist people to keep cooking

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Thank you to all our blog readers and contributors.

We look forward to staying connected to you on social media in 2017

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145701806349836Elaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.

Let’s Talk about Dementia

 Your Top 10 of 2016

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In this weeks blog and next week we are sharing your all time Top 10 blog posts of 2016, with an invitation to let us know what you would like to read about in 2017.  In no particular order here are the first five of your top ten

3 Themes to Create Dementia Friendly Spaces in Care Home Settings by @wendyAHPDem

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/3-themes-to-create-dementia-friendly-spaces-in-care-home-settings/

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As an occupational therapist working in mental health in Dumfries and Galloway I was given the opportunity to work with some of the residential care homes, exploring ways that dementia friendly design principles could be implemented to help create care spaces more suitable for people with dementia. Dementia friendly design principles focus on ensuring that the environment is comfortable, easy to navigate our way around and that it easily engages us. It requires us to take a step back and ask some simple questions of the spaces and environments around us. Wendy then shares 3 tips which helped the care homes create dementia friendly spaces.

12 Helpful Hints when communicating with someone with dementia by @alzscot

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/12-helpful-hints/

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This blogs starts with an introduction to imagine if you were to lose the ability to say the right word or understand what was being said, eg when on holiday in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. You may feel frustrated, angry and look for help, perhaps to someone to interpret for you. You might respond by not speaking at all and withdrawing into yourself of avoiding situations where you have to communicate with people.The blog then shares 12 Helpful Hints for communicating with someone living with dementia.

Our Top Tips” to Living Well with Dementia – Scottish Dementia Working Group by  @SDWG

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/our-top-tips-to-living-well-with-dementia-scottish-dementia-working-group-sdwg/

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This blog shares the work of the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and Lynsey Robertson-Flannigan, Alzheimer Scotland Occupational Therapy intern (2015), who formed a ‘Top Tips’ subgroup. The SDWG members have over the years collected strategies and tips which they have found useful in helping them to live well and independently with dementia. Their desire was to share this knowledge, enabling others to maximise their quality of life by being all they can be. The outcome of the group was to develop a resource of all their ideas. After a few brain storming sessions, a booklet of “Top Tips” was developed and the tips were themed. In this week’s blog a preview of the “At Home” section was shared.

The whole booklet will be shared early into 2017.

6 points to consider before talking with someone who has a learning disability and their partner about dementia by @karenwatchman

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/6-points-to-consider-before-talking-with-someone-who-has-a-learning-disability-and-their-partner-about-dementia/

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Dementia does not discriminate. We are all aware of, or have experienced first-hand, the stress and distress caused when one person in a relationship receives a diagnosis of dementia. The subsequent impact on both this individual and their partner cannot be underestimated with recognition needed of the specific requirements of both.

Now imagine that this is a relationship between two people with a learning disability. How do you start a conversation about dementia with the person who has the diagnosis, let alone their partner? Dementia doesn’t discriminate, but neither does love. In this blog Karen shares Jenny’s Diary a resource specifically developed to support conversations about dementia with a person with a learning disability, their partner and friends. 

Allied Health Professional Maximising Psychological Wellbeing: Changing communication by @rmakellett

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/allied-health-professional-maximising-psychological-wellbeing-changing-communication/

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Rebecca a speech and languauge therapist developed this blog post, where the introduction starts : Communication does gradually change when a person is living with dementia, but as Stephen Miller puts it , “there is nothing they can do about it”. We are the ones who have to change. His book Communicating across Dementia1 is well worth a read.  We already have the skills we need to adapt to a different way of communicating. We all use facial expression and body language, tone of voice, and behaviour in every face to face interaction, and in fact we are quite dependent on them. Link back into the blog to hear other ideas from Rebecca

We want to know what you think of our blog – take the short survey here.

Thank you to all our blog readers and contributors.

In the next weeks bog we will be sharing 5 more blogs from your top ten blogs in 2016

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145701806349836Elaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.