Let’s Talk About Dementia Resource Centres (part 2)

Creating Helensburgh’s new DRC (part 2)

We have found a new home where people with dementia and families will be able to access information, support and advice from as well as being a one stop shop for the community.

this ti this

The Challenge

We need to turn this fantastic space into a dementia friendly resource centre. Alzheimer Scotland has a blueprint to work from now that ensures we create a space that is a strong community hub offering information, advice, practical support and a wonderful, welcoming space for people living with dementia – both in the town and across Helensburgh, Lomond and the Lochside.

What we have done

To ensure we met the needs of those currently accessing our local services we invited people to come along and tell us what they would like in a new centre – we also consulted on the colour schemes, furnishings and art work. The consultation was carried out face-to-face and via email and through our Facebook page. We really do want this new centre to belong to the people living in our community.

 blog 2

What next?

We’ve raised an amazing £24,000 already but we really need your help to come up with the remaining £76,000. If you’d like to help raise the vital cash we need to bring our centre to the heart of Helensburgh, we’ve got some great fundraising ideas in our toolkit

Check it out today and with your help Alzheimer Scotland will ensure the people of Helensburgh, Lomond and the Lochside do not go through dementia alone.

Please support this project with a donation by clicking here.

IMG_0199Jean Armitage, Policy and Engagement Manager, Alzheimer Scotland


My remit as a Policy and Engagement Manager with Alzheimer Scotland is interesting and varied with four main areas of work – Membership engagement, Representation and policy, Fundraising and Supporting & working with Branches.



‘Pocket Ideas…for a moment in time’ a person centred approach in Acute Care

Pocket Ideas, what is it?

So if a person with dementia or carer wanted to know what to expect when being introduced to “pocket ideas” what would I say?

‘Pocket Ideas’ is a portable pocket sized book filled with prepared activities and inspirational quotes to help stimulate conversation. These conversations can take place whilst working with a patient in the ward, as the book is very portable, or in a group situation.

It’s an opportunity for us all to remember to see the person who has had many life experiences, skills and knowledge. It helps to build therapeutic relationships, reduce distress, reinforce the benefits of meaningful activity and person centred care. It’s a tool that anyone can use and anywhere, reminding us that every moment we have to offer older people in meaningful experiences is valuable, and essential in our professional practice. Enjoy the experience using it and the opportunity to reminisce, remember and even talk about new topics.

I would also tell them that this initiative won an award last year, in the category of “Best Acute Initiative” of Scotlands Dementia Awards 2014.

pic 1

5 Top Tips using ‘Pocket Ideas’

  1. Only takes 5 minutes to have a moment in time with an individual, and it reinforces the importance of meaningful activity.
  2. Simple prepared activities and inspirational pictures to stimulate a conversation.
  3. Encourages positive therapeutic relationships and reinforces the importance of humanity, compassion, person centred care and being actively engaged.
  4. Portable pocket sized tool and can be used anywhere by anyone.
  5. Enjoy using it, as a moment in time can bring back a memory, reduce stress, provide comfort and make you smile.

pic 2

5 things you need to know when designing a resource like this

  1. Understand what the problem is and creative ways to address it.
  2. Importance of engaging relevant staff members to support project ideas.
  3. Establish a working group to talk about ideas, set achievable goals and support each other to realise a possibility and make a difference.
  4. Create a prototype using creative ideas.
  5. Develop a means to measure the benefits of using the prototype and then pilot the project idea in the relevant area.

pic 3

My top recommendation to make something happen, surround yourself with a great team.

Our team picture includes; left to right Jean Knox, (Technical instructor), Gillian Agnew (Occupational therapists), me in the middle, Elaine Tizzard (Technical instructor) and Darrell Line (Technical instructor).

I would welcome any reflections on my blog post

I would also like to leave you with a question to consider and reflect on

How can we ensure, if you are living with dementia and require to go into an acute care setting that every contact with a health care professional is person centred and we ask you “what is important to you”

Andrea Boyd

Occupational Therapist, NHS Ayrshire and Arran


I am currently on secondment and leading up the project ‘Pocket Ideas…for a moment in time’. I have been an Occupational Therapist for many years, but this is such an exciting opportunity to continue with the development of our person centred tool with the support of my ‘Activity Team’.


Seize the day

To blog or not to blog, that is the question

Why should Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) read this blog or contribute to it? Indeed why would someone with a dementia or their family want to read the blog either?

blog 1 copy copy

The subheading to the blog is “Never in the history of mankind did not talking about something scary make it disappear”.  The very essence of this blog therefore is to talk about dementia, to share insights, experience and knowledge as well as to suggest options and opportunities for the future, the same ethos of understanding is therefore key to answering the question.


Unknown unknown

blog 2 copy copy

The blog’s primary focus is on the role of the AHPs in dementia care.  Donald Rumsfeld somewhat (in)famously made his ‘unknown unknowns’ speech in 2002 – this weekly blog is addressing some of our ‘unknown unknowns’ in relation to dementia and the role of the AHP.

Jacqui Lundy Johnston in week two of the blog explained a little about what (or who) are AHPs. In the weeks since various allied health professions have featured in the blog.  Knowledge about the role of the AHP won’t magically enter the consciousness of people (other clinicians or the wider population), we each have to play our professional role in spreading the message – within the current climate of integration there has never been a more opportune or important time to share that information.

Firstly let’s explore a little bit of background to social media use.

Some figures from a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania, show only 14% of health policy researchers report using Twitter, 20% using blogs, and 20% using Facebook.  The study lead author David Grande noted “Most health policy researchers are not using social media to communicate their research results, which could be a significant missed opportunity to expose a larger audience to important health news …… and educate more people more efficiently”.

blog 3


Returning to the question of why AHPs should contribute to this blog, the answer is captured above “to educate more people, more efficiently” – it could be argued that you have a professional responsibility to engage with and, where appropriate, use social media to share your expertise and knowledge, as stated by Grande to “expose a larger audience to important health news”.

This blog can be an important resource in your toolbox, a place to direct people for information related to dementia and specifically the contribution that an AHP can make.  In a blog on the Ayrshirehealth blog site Aileen Fyfe (an O/T) was surprised to realise that even close family members were not always fully aware of what an O/T does, or can contribute to the health, wellbeing and enablement of individuals.


blog 4 copy copy

How many families do you think know and understand the added value of involving an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist or a dietician in the care and treatment of their loved ones?

A USA survey in 2012 found that 54% of patients were comfortable with their healthcare providers access advice from online communities. The lesson for us therefore is to make this blog a potential place (online community) to go for advice or guidance on the role of an AHP in dementia, and of course somewhere to direct families for information – that can only happen if AHPs share their expertise and then share this blog.

Seize the day!

blog 5

Alzheimer Scotland has been a major driver in Scotland developing it’s dementia commitments including early diagnosis and post diagnosis support.  What is the role of the AHP in delivering on these commitments?  This blog is an ideal opportunity to showcase the AHP contribution now and in the future – Seize the day.

Some stats

Before closing I though it may help focus our minds if we can understand the potential reach and engagement of blogging.

AHPScot blog has been read 8500 times

DGHealth has been read over 30000 times

Ayrshirehealth has been read over 33000 times

Tommy on tour blog has been read over 300,000 times

Your contribution to this blog, your direction of colleagues to the blog as a resource, your direction of people who have dementia and their families will shine a light on the undoubted contribution that AHPs can, will and do have in the lives of people with dementia.

It’s over to you – will you seize the day?

Derek T Barron

Derek T Barron
Associate Nurse Director

Associate Nurse Director, Mental Health Services and Lead Nurse, North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership. Lead for Older People in Acute Hospitals and NHS Board lead for dementia. Keen interest in using social media as a professional networking and development opportunity.