Occupational Therapy Home Based Memory Rehabilitation in Scotland – an update


The start of a new year is usually a time for reflection and thinking about the year ahead.    I have been reflecting on the work I have been involved in around enhancing access to the skills of the AHPs in the post diagnostic period (as per Ambition One of Scotland’s AHP dementia policy, Connecting People, Connecting Support, 2017).  Part of this work includes the Occupational Therapy Home Based Memory Rehabilitation (HBMR) Programme and I would like to share an update on where we are at in Scotland.


We are continuing to build on the great work which was originally developed and kindly shared by Mary McGrath (Belfast Health & Social Care Trust) and then the Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Occupational Therapy Service, NHS Dumfries & Galloway.  I will focus on our more recent work but background information can be accessed online, and here are two previous Blogs:



Previously, an initial national pilot was carried out, which involved 12 out of the 14 Health Board Areas across Scotland.  Further information can be found here:


On completion of the national pilot, we have been focussing on the following areas:

  1. Review of the HBMR resources

Powerful questions were developed in order to gather feedback around the original resources.  We received feedback from the OT clinicians involved in the pilot as well as people living with dementia who had experienced the HBMR programme (as they are the real experts).  A working group was established in order to build on the feedback as well as building on any new learning.  We have updated the paper based resources and developed a new ‘My Memory Book’ (for which the name can be changed depending on individual preference).

In addition to the updated paper based resources, we have also developed new electronic resources, which will continue to evolve.  We feel that this will enable us to ensure that HBMR can best be tailored to the needs of the individual person.

  1. Ongoing Sharing and Collaboration

There continues to be much interest in the HBMR work in Scotland and we have been fortunate to be able to share the work in various formats including conferences, events, written updates and via social media (#OTHBMR, #AHPConnectingPeople).  There has been local, national and international level interest in the work and are always happy to have conversations, always remembering the initial generosity we were the recipients of.  The work has also been aligned to several other workstreams and we look forward to sharing more around this.

  1. Ongoing use of our Improvement Approach

Throughout the national HBMR roll out, we have been utilising an Improvement Approach.  In order to give the work the best chance of ongoing success and sustainability, we are implementing improvement methodology and tools.  This includes the use of Driver Diagrams, a measurement plan with collection of quantitative and qualitative data, regular communication and most important of all, strong relationships with a committed team.

 “Coming together is the beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together……is success.” (Henry Ford)

  1. What Next?

We are now moving forward with Phase 2 of the OT HBMR (Scotland) improvement journey.  Hot off the press, the new resources have been distributed for a rapid cycle of testing and feedback (we will also build on the online resources).  We are excited to see where the numerous conversations and collaborations lead and look forward to sharing progress around this.  At all times, we remember that the driver behind the HBMR work is to improve the experience of people living with dementia and we look forward to sharing progress throughout next stage of the work.   Please look out for further updates or get in touch with any comments or questions. 

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge “Thank You” to everyone involved in the OT HBMR (Scotland) journey so far.  And just like Ruby and Scapa, I am very excited about what lies ahead (of course I had to include them)!


Alison McKean, AHP Post Diagnostic Lead







Alison is Allied Health Professional Post Diagnostic Lead with Alzheimer Scotland.   This role focuses on enhancing access to the skills on the AHPs in the post diagnostic period (as per Ambition One of Connecting People, Connecting Support, 2017).  Alison is passionate about improvements in dementia care and is a Scottish Quality and Safety Fellow (cohort 9).


A tweet a day from @AHPDementia Making the invisible visible


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

Let’s Talk About Dementia A selection of your 2018 blogs

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 every Thursday at 8am.  Or alternatively email us at TalkingDementia@Alzscot.org and we will link you to the blog posts.  You can also follow on Twitter @alzscot @AHPDementia and @elaineahpmh.  We welcome your positive comments and feedback about how to make this blog useful to you and it would be great if you could comment on items we post.


In this week’s blog we are sharing with you 10 of the 52 blogs we posted during 2018.

  1. Getting to Know Me: Supporting a Culture of Person-Centred Care

@Susan_hol1 one of our Alzheimer Scotland Nurse Consultants talks about the ‘Getting to Know Me’ personal profile tool that was created by the National Dementia Consultant network, consisting of Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultants and AHP Dementia Consultants in Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Government and people with dementia.


  1. Dancing for a healthier 2018

@pasna an occupational therapists shares a film showcasing her Social Enterprise Organisation, Weekday Wow Factor, and you can see just one of the interventions offered to enhance health and well-being for people with or without dementia https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/dancing-for-a-healthier-2018/

  1. Housing and Dementia in Scotland

@owlbroon @uwsraymondduffy @lourit from Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of the West of Scotland share their report  ‘Being Home: Housing and Dementia in Scotland’, the first of its kind in Scotland, funded by the Life Changes Trust and commissioned by Angus Care and Repair The key findings of the report can be downloaded from https://www.lifechangestrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/20170613%20Housing%20Dementia%20Key%20Findings%20FINAL.pdf

and the full blog post can be read here


  1. Physiotherapy & Dementia: Working with people living with dementia in my final 4th Year Placement

Caitlin Kennedy, physiotherapy student at Glasgow Caledonian University shares her insights of being on placement in Alzheimer Scotland, working in the community and experiencing  first-hand the services available in Alzheimer Scotland.


  1. Raising Awareness & Importance to Eating Well When Living with Dementia

@lynnekstevenson in her blog raises awareness of the importance of nutrition and dementia during Nutrition and Hydration week last year as well as her passion about the role that good nutrition plays in overall health and well-being.


  1. Home based memory rehabilitation in the Borders, Scotland. An occupational therapists personal perspective

Louise, who at the time of writing the blog was an occupational therapist working in NHS Borders shares her experience of taking part in a national improvement project to deliver an occupational therapy post diagnostic intervention called Home-Based-Memory-Rehabilitation (HBMR) programme. This was Louise’s first ever blog and we were proud to support her in developing a new method to share her work and reflections as an occupational therapist.


  1. Paths for All: Dementia Friendly Walking Project

Carl Greenwood from @PathsforAll talks about a network of Walking for Health projects that organise free, short, local, volunteer led walks that are inclusive and welcoming.  With funding from Life Changes Trust they have been working with the Walking for Health network to make the walks more accessible to people living with dementia.


  1. Achieving Positives Outcomes for People with Dementia in Acute Care

@Lynnflannigan1 from Focus on Dementia shares the report that was developed in partnership with colleagues in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary that explores the critical success factors which lead to improved outcomes for people with dementia, their carers and staff in acute care. https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/achieving-positives-outcomes-for-people-with-dementia-in-acute-care/

  1. Roots to Occupation” by the Scottish Dementia Working Group @S_D_W_G

@elaineahpmh shares the work developed by the Alzheimer Scotland occupational therapy interns (Ciara & Sarah) and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) in August 2018. Together, they talked about what occupations and activities were important to members of the SDWG and went on to reflect how members continue to engage in activities that are important to them.


  1. Living with dementia: a personal perspective.

@elaineahpmh talks about the launch of Connecting People, Connecting Support (www.alzscot.org/ahp) and shared the film by Pat from @S_D_W_G on her insights and experience of  living with dementia https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/living-with-dementia-a-personal-perspective/


Pat with Beth, Alzheimer Scotland occupational therapy intern, summer 2017

However having had the absolute pleasure, during 2018, of visiting many of my colleagues to support the local integration of #AHPConnectingPeople from Shetland to Dumfries, Ayrshire to Fife, the film with Pat is always the highlight of all my presentations so I would like to share her short film here with you again https://vimeo.com/267246706/aecba4340b



Elaine Hunter @elaineahpmh

National AHP Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland

Thank you from “Let’s talk about dementia”

Never in the history of mankind did not talking about something scary make it disappear


Our weekly blog hosted and supported by Alzheimer Scotland and led by the allied health professionals provides us with the perfect opportunity to share the work of the allied health professionals, extending the AHP reach in talking about dementia care, while also helping others gain a better understanding of our role.  We wanted to find a different way to share with people what allied health professionals can do, how they could help and at the same time emphasis an integrated way of working with Alzheimer Scotland and other key partners and professionals.  In this week’s blog we simply wanted to say thank you to all our blog contributors and all our blog readers, we cannot do it without you.   We look forward to connecting with you in 2019.    @AHPDementia #AHPConnectingPeople


Elaine Hunter, National AHP Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland

Scottish Dementia Working Group @S_D_W_G 10 tips on maintaining connections over the festive period

The members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group have developed 10 tips on maintaining connections over the festive period. The tweets were share daily starting on the 3rd December and this blog post is sharing all ten as a summary blog.

Tip 1: “Make a special effort to visit people over the festive period and share your time”

Tip 2: “Even if someone has declined an invitation, please do continue to invite them. Circumstances can change and they may appreciate the offer”

Tip 3: “If you are feeling lonely and cannot get out the house, let someone know.  This could be anyone, a carer, neighbour or family. The important thing is to tell someone how you feel”.

Tip 4: “Do not assume because someone has a lot of Christmas cards that they get a lot of visitors”

Tip 5: “If you think someone may be isolated, pop by and see them. you do not need to invite yourself in but just let them know you are thinking of them and ask if they need anything.”

Tip 6: “I find it helpful to think how I would feel if I was isolated and that encourages me to reach out to people”

Tip 7: “Try and get involved in your community, all year round, not just at Christmas and maintain this contact over the festive period”

Tip 8: “Give your family and friends a call, a quick conversation can really life the spirits

Tip 9: “Facetime and skype are great ways to keep in touch, it feels like your family are in the room with you”

Tip 10: “Take care of yourself and reach out to others if you need support”. The Alzheimer Scotland Helpline is available 24/7, all year round.  Tel: 0808 808 3000 Email: helpline@alzscot.org