I know from speaking to people living with dementia & their families, they are often unaware of who allied health professional (AHP) are or how AHP’s CAN help them to remain active and independent in their communities. People living with dementia are using smartphones and tablets, actively engaging on online platforms to share their narratives and gain the benefits of using social media.
As allied health professionals we knew we had to find new ways of thinking and working that increase our visibility and engagement while also integrating our AHP dementia policy, Connecting People, Connecting Support (Alzheimer Scotland 2017) to local practice.
We decided twitter offered us a real opportunity to raise awareness of the work of allied health professionals to dementia care while also transforming the way we communicate with people living with dementia and their families and supporters. Therefore, we took to twitter and began our daily tweets at @AHPDementia in January 2018.
At @AHPDementia we have a group of experienced occupational therapists, podiatrists and physiotherapists in Scotland who tweet daily and in 2019 we will also have our dietetic and speech and language therapy colleagues joining our team of daily tweeters.
Our tweets are written by HCPC registered allied health professional’s therapists who offer hints and tips based on answers to questions they are asked in their daily practice. Our themes of the tweets follow the AHP approach as outlined in Connecting People, Connecting Support therefore supporting our aspiration of integrating policy to practice too.
A tweet a day at @AHPDementia. Here we are sharing examples of the tweets shared in 2018.
Monday. Supporting Families & Carers as equal partners
Carers can help maintain the person they care for psychological wellbeing by including the person with #dementia in activities of daily living. Encouraging the person to be as independent as possible will help to retain skills.
Tuesday. Enhancing Daily Living
Occupational therapists CAN enable people to continue to work after a diagnosis. They can suggest adjustments such as reducing background noise, flexibility with breaks, use of memory prompts and organising the desk with only the necessary tools required for the job. @alzscot
Wednesday. Enhancing Daily Living
Avoid changing cupboard or drawer contents. People with #dementia use habits to aid there engagement with daily environment to support everyday tasks. If unavoidable use appropriate signage initially to aid the development of new habits of the home layout. #withOTuCAN
Thursday. Maximising Psychological Wellbeing
Every one of us needs to feel useful and valued. People experiencing dementia do too. They should continue to be involved in activities in the home e.g cooking, housework, and in their communities e.g going shopping, to a cafe which will improve their psychological wellbeing
Friday. Maximising Physical Wellbeing
‘Maximising physical wellbeing’ In our lifetime we will walk around 150,000 miles, that’s more than four times round the earth. Walking is the nearest thing to ‘perfect’ exercise in terms of a safe, all-round workout and it doesn’t cost a penny or need any special equipment.
Saturday. Let’s Talk about dementia weekly blog
Let’s Talk about dementia is a blog hosted and supported by Alzheimer Scotland and led by allied health professional colleagues. To read about what our contributors have to say, go to www.alzscot.org/talking_dementia and enter your email address to get new posts by email or alternatively email us at TalkingDementia@Alzscot.org and we will link you to the blog posts.
Sunday. Connecting People, Connecting Support overview
People living with dementia benefit greatly from a biopsychosocial approach to care. The AHP approach therefore combines the biopsychosocial approach with an integrated & co-ordinated approach to providing AHP interventions to people living with dementia #AHPConnectingPeople
Thank you to the current twitter project team, all AHP’s trying something new @sammhahp @CarrieOTmh @juliebrownOT @dorman_lynn @AliAHPDem @ClaireCraig_PT @MellonKaren. Thank you also to ALL followers at @AHPDementia for your retweets, likes & comments which have included:
“Really interesting work here on the effectiveness of twitter in connecting with occupational therapists to enhance support of people living with #dementia. Social media as a force for good #dementiacare #dementia”
“Thanks….great job with this practical suggestions for improving the life of those with #dementia. I am putting them to work with my loved one #livingwithdementia”
We look forward to connecting with you during 2019. Tell us what you think, like, comment or retweet.
Contributor Elaine Hunter @elaineahpmh National AHP Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland