Connecting people, connecting support

Allied Health Professionals Evidence for Action

‘Connecting people, connecting support’ is about Allied Health Professionals (AHP) in Scotland maximising their contribution to supporting people with dementia and their families, partners and carers to live positive fulfilling and independent lives. Alzheimer Scotland was commissioned by Scottish Government to produce an evidence based policy document outlining the contribution of AHPs to ensuring implementation the 8-Pillar Model of Community Support http://www.alzscot.org/assets/0000/4613/FULL_REPORT_8_Pillars_Model_of_Community_Support.pdf

In this week’s blog we are sharing with you the work that has been undertaken, including resources, informing the allied health professions policy document.

Evidence for Action

All the evidence is available informing the policy document is here http://www.alzscot.org/ahp where you can read about our 3 levels of “evidence for action”:

  1. Conversations with people living with dementia and their families
  2. Collaboration with health and social care staff
  3. Evidence from research and evaluations

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  1. Conversations with people living with dementia and their families

To help inform the AHP policy document it was important for us to hear what was important to people living with dementia and their families. We invited people to share their thoughts with allied health professionals so that together we could shape the future work of allied health professionals in Scotland’s dementia care. We were interested in whatever people wished to bring to us and therefore the approach to the conversations was based on appreciative inquiry.

Within this section on our website you will find three reports with summaries of our conversations, sharing significant themes for us to consider. We asked people “can you tell us a story about what enables you to live your life the way you want to?” The replies reminded us of the importance of family & relationships, maintaining independence, having s sense of freedom, engaging in activities valued as important & remaining connected the community. We also share two films by members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group.

“I have dementia but it does not define me, my actions, my hopes define me”

Henry Rankin 2015

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  1. Collaboration with health and social care staff

During the development and writing of “Connecting people, connecting support” we were reminded that we are not starting from the beginning. There are many examples of great practice already developed by allied health professionals as part of wider teams and integral to the transformational change already taking place in Scotland’s dementia services.

Within this level of evidence we are share the work of the National Alzheimer Scotland AHP dementia expert group within two communities of practice, three AHP national publications, six films from national events, an AHP leaflet and acknowledge the partnership working with the four higher education institutions in Scotland who train our AHP workforce and the 12 allied health professional bodies.

When you read the work you will find examples of how allied health professionals are implementing new ideas and developing innovations in practice. You can read the AHP stories and hear their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment they give to their roles and the real difference they are making to people living with dementia.

“we sat down to work out a model for delivering more effective post-diagnostic support in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland. Everyone can see the value of people having access to AHPs as soon as possible after their diagnosis”

Joanne Payne 2014

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  1. Evidence from research and evaluations

For any evidence based policy document it was important to review what evidence there is informing current allied health professional practice and also begin to contribute to the future evidence base for allied health professionals in Scotland and internationally.

Within this section on the website, we share an evaluation of the impact of the AHP Consultant role on the organisations in which they work, on Allied Health Professionals working across Scotland, and on people living with dementia. We will also be sharing the work of our national AHP scoping exercise into post diagnostic support and a stocktake on the work of the Tailored Activity Programme in Scotland.

Two literature reviews have been completed and are available, providing an overview of available research into the effectiveness of AHP-led interventions for people living with dementia, their families and carers. (Shenton et al 2011 Pentland 2015)

“The review adds to the growing evidentiary base supporting active non-pharmacological interventions with results providing important insights for developing and testing future interventions for people with dementia and caregivers.   Some of the more successful interventions included the caregiver in the intervention and this aspect seemed to deliver added value”

Shenton et al 2011

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What next?

Building from the evidence sources cited above, Connecting people, connecting support key messages will be:

  • AHPs can make a positive difference to the lives of people with dementia and their carers
  • making that positive difference is not about doing more – it’s about doing different
  • connecting people and connecting support for people with dementia and their carers will call for a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral approach in which AHPs play a unique part
  • the approach described in Connecting people, connecting support will be about ‘re-tailoring’ AHPs’ skill sets to focus specifically on the needs of people with dementia and their carers
  • the approach will support AHPs to adapt their profession-specific knowledge and skills to achieve the best outcomes.

Connecting people, connecting support will be published by the Scottish Government and Alzheimer Scotland in autumn 2016. For more information, access #AHPDementia or www.alzscot.org/ahp, or contact Alzheimer Scotland

On reflection

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. All comments are welcome or maybe tell us “what’s important to you” or what would you like to see in our new allied health professional policy document?

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