Gladys Haining Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant talks about her role
The 600 or so dementia champions across Scotland receive support from Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultants and Allied Health Professionals. In Dumfries and Galloway we are rather unique and very proud because:
- The Dementia Champion training programme originated here,
- The National programme is based on the Dumfries and Galloway model,
- We have been training Dementia Champions since 2007,
- We currently have 116 Dementia Champions on our register
Our champions come from a wide range of professions and backgrounds including: Nurses, Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHPs), Social Workers, Care at Home, Chief Executive Offices, GP Medical Centres, Community Nursing, General Hospital, Mental Health Hospital and Community Hospitals.
Who is Gladys?
I am the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant for NHS Dumfries & Galloway and my professional background is mental health nursing. A key part of my role is to support the Dementia Champions, but how do I support and lead dementia champions from different professions, different directorates and different localities?
I have taken the approach that a dementia champion is a dementia champion regardless of whether they have completed the national or local training and regardless of profession or clinical background. The message is clear,
“we are all here to make sure we support people living with dementia in the best way possible should they require our services”.
I facilitate four development sessions for the champions annually. There is an expectation that they attend a minimum of one session per year (this is to allow them to remain on the dementia champion register) but they are encouraged to attend as many as possible.
The topics for the sessions are decided and agreed by the champions as this is about their continued personal and professional development and their desire to work with people living with dementia.
A “champion’s charter”
Along with the champions we have developed a charter which clearly outlines the expectations and commitment the organisation expects. I’ve included the charter that is for staff working in hospitals but others have amended the wording to suit the area they work in.
As part of our ongoing development sessions we have the opportunity to share good practice and discuss some of the challenges the champions can face on a day to day basis.
We now have a framework in place for continued leadership, support, development and ongoing education of our dementia champions. We are working well together and the dementia champions often come to me for help or advice. They are acknowledging that they are becoming more confident in the contacts and discussions they have with people living with dementia, their families and carers. They also feel that they are being recognised as a source of information and support for colleagues but this still has room for improvement.
Dementia Champions have Passion & Motivation
The one thing that does come across from our development sessions is the passion and motivation to support people living with dementia in the best way possible.
As we strive to deliver person centred care we have to see the person, their contribution to society and what makes them who they are.
I’m a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a cousin, a grandmother, a friend, a nurse, a colleague and the events throughout my life have made me into the person I am. This applies to every person that comes into contact with services and it’s vitally important that this is who we see when providing care.
I have included some comments from our most recent development session and hopefully this gives a flavour of the work we are undertaking in Dumfries and Galloway.
I’ve tried to give an accurate reflection on the positive and negative comments received.
What do you think?
Can you notice the difference dementia champions are making in your area?
Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant
I provide professional nursing leadership, strategic direction and expert consultancy on all aspects of clinical nursing practice and care of people with Dementia across NHS Dumfries & Galloway, with a specific remit to develop practice and services in the Acute Care Hospitals. This involves working across professional and organisational boundaries, in partnership and in collaboration with others including service users, carers, health professionals, social work, voluntary sector staff, and local education providers.