Maximising Physical Wellbeing: Radiographers making dementia our business!

My name is Caroline and I am a Diagnostic Radiographer working within the NHS. I have a special interest in Dementia care within the x-ray department due to personal experience. My grand father lived with Dementia for many years and often required hospital care. This was a number of years ago when little was known about the condition or how best to care for individuals living with Dementia. As a result the experiences that we had could be varied depending upon the knowledge of the staff involved. It became clear to me that by making Dementia everyone’s business we could enhance the experience of those living with Dementia who visit the x-ray department.

Whether you are in hospital due to an emergency or planned admission you will inevitably visit the x-ray department. This can be to either undergo a variety of x-rays or scans to investigate your symptoms, or to receive treatment for cancer.

Whatever the reason for your visit we require your co-operation and that of those who may accompany you. By gaining your trust and making you feel at ease, we can ensure that we provide you with the best possible experience and outcome from the test or treatment that you may be undergoing.

We know that around 1 in 3 people are estimated to be living with Dementia and almost all of these individuals will undergo some form of imaging or other treatments by radiography. These startling figures have led our profession to prioritise education on the subject of Dementia for staff and students. Ensuring staff have access to these learning resources will enable our healthcare teams to offer the best experience to people with dementia, carers and relatives. Only by educating healthcare staff can we be sure that best practice is achieved.

The Society of Radiographers (SOR) is the professional body which provides Radiographers with education, support and guidance. Over the last few years the SOR has worked hard to provide links and publications to educate and support Radiographers care for people living with Dementia. They have worked with The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland to ensure they get the correct information based on research and patient experience.

I have enclosed the links to this literature at the end of this blog.
As a radiographer leading a team within a large Imaging department I take the role of staff training and development seriously. Staff are encouraged to share good practice and reflect on their experiences.

Ask a Radiographer
It is inevitable that as Radiographers we will not always get it right. I would encourage everyone to let us know when you feel we have given you a good service. Equally please inform us when you feel that we could be doing better. Only by examining our practice and learning from patient and carer’s experiences can we ensure we improve our practice.

Caring for People with Dementia: a clinical practice guideline for the radiography workforce (imaging and radiotherapy).
This clinical practice guideline is a comprehensive set of evidence-based recommendations for the whole radiographic workforce caring for people with dementia and their carers when undergoing imaging and/or radiotherapy. It has been developed systematically using the best available evidence from research and expert opinion, including service users, and subjected to peer professional, lay and external review. The guideline has recommendations for good practice for individual members of the radiographic workforce, service managers, academic institutions and the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR).

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