Connecting People Connecting Support

Home Based Memory Rehabilitation

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Today we will be welcoming over a hundred and ninety eight people to Queen Margaret University developed in partnership with colleagues from Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, College of Occupational Therapy, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust with a live stream happening at the same time.  We are connecting  people and organisations together with a shared interest in the occupational therapy contribution to post diagnostic support.

You can watch the day from 10am today or after the event on our live stream link You click on the EventCast Tab and you will see the link to the live stream for the day called “Connecting People Connecting Support. Home Based Memory Rehabilitation” or you can follow us on our hash tag #OTHBMR.

The focus of the day is on Home Based Memory Rehabilitation (HBMR), a developing evidence based occupational therapy early intervention for people living with dementia. It aims to help people compensate for any memory difficulties affecting everyday functioning and engagement in occupation. The structured programme is person centred, encouraging new learned behaviours in the early stages of dementia, creating habits and routines which can then be relied upon over time as a self-management approach. However to hear what it is like to be involved in home based memory rehabilitation, it may be more helpful to watch this short film and hear what home based memory rehabilitation means to people living with dementia and their families.

Hope you can join us on our live stream or following us on twitter at #OTHBMR

For more information on home based memory rehabilitation, please find attached some more information :

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Allied Health Professionals Contribution to Delivering Post-Diagnostic Support. Living Well with Dementia .

A blog post last year by Rachel Goode

Home Based Memory Rehabilitation Programme: an Occupational Therapy early intervention for people living with dementia

And Emma Coutts

The Home Based Memory Rehabilitation Programme

Promoting safety in the home: The home-based Memory Rehabilitation Programme for persons with mild Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias Mary P McGrath

There will be a blog posted about the day at on Friday too


Alison McKean

Alzheimer Scotland AHP Project Lead, Post Diagnostic Support

I am an Occupational Therapist who has worked in the field of dementia for over 14 years.  Over that time, I have seen many changes and am passionate about ongoing developments in Dementia Care.  I am delighted to have recently commenced a part time secondment as the Alzheimer Scotland AHP Project Lead in Post Diagnostic Support.

wendyWendy Chambers: Team lead occupational therapist, NHS Dumfries and Galloway


As a team lead occupational therapist in organic services in Dumfries and Galloway (dementia and learning disabilities), I am keen to ensure the services we provide are what people need, of a high quality and making a definate impact to help people and their families live well with dementia in Scotland.

Settling in to an Art Therapy Placement:

“The Groundwork for Great Work”

Meet Jenny

My name is Jenny Jamieson and I am a student Art Therapist in my second year of the Msc Art Psychotherapy (International) at Queen Margaret University. I have the great privilege of being on placement two days a week in one of Alzheimer Scotland’s busy day centres in the west of Scotland. The service I provide includes facilitating a small art therapy group and also working with individuals one to one.

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Meet Leah

My name is Leah Mackay and I am also a second year Art Therapy Student on placement at one of Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia resource centres. Art therapy fits into the service well, providing a therapeutic intervention both on an individual basis and in small groups.

We have been working with Alzheimer Scotland staff to make sure that all the things we need for our role are in place.

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It is our hope that through sharing our five ideas of being an art therapy student will be will be useful for anyone interested in supporting art therapy to happen where they are.

  • Tools of the Trade


Central to the provision of Art Therapy within any setting is access to a range of art materials. A basic range of materials could include:  clay, paints, chalk and oil pastels, a range of paper, pencils, pens and brushes.  The list could go on and on but it is amazing what can be created from very little!  Once a person gets a feel for the materials they can choose to use them how they wish.  For example, felt tip pens lend themselves well to controlled mark making whereas clay and paint can be squeezed and smeared in a less predictable process.

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Art therapy provides a time and space to express thoughts and feelings that can be difficult to put into words. It is not an art class; there are no rules about what to create and how to do it. It allows someone the opportunity to use the materials in a different way, offering the chance to explore and even make a mess! So, while it may not always be possible to have a sink in the same room it really is necessary to have one nearby.

  • The Right Room


We try as often as we can to have the art sessions in a private room. As very personal topics and emotions can be shared in art therapy so it’s important that there are no interruptions. It is also important that sessions are held at the same time and place each week to provide consistency. However, we are not looking for the perfect art studio. Part of the task of a trainee art therapist is to learn to work creatively with available spaces to ensure that the environment is right for safe and effective art therapy.

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  • Storage Hunters


Art work can be deeply personal and the art therapist is trusted to look after art work until the end of therapy. Careful consideration is given to the provision of a secure space for the safe storage of art work so that it comes to no harm.  A lockable cupboard or drawer or a filing cabinet are examples of suitable storage spaces.

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  • Solid Support


Supervision is of central importance to trainee and experienced art therapists alike. For students, profession specific supervision is provided by a health care professional council registered (HCPC) practitioner within our university but on-site supervision is just as important. Weekly supervision with the people we work with in Alzheimer Scotland enables effective communication around any issues that may arise in order to support and inform our learning as students.

  • Information Exchange


As students, access to information about Alzheimer Scotland services is essential but it has also been important for us to share information about what we can offer. Before we begin Art Therapy sessions with the people who come to the Alzheimer Scotland services we provide information about what it is and what it involves and may provide ‘taster’ sessions so potential participants can try using different art materials. Art Therapy students will also be working to evaluate the work we are doing and will be asking the question,

“What was important for you” during our art therapy session today?

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Thank you for reading our blog and we are interested in your thoughts.

Perhaps you would like to share your experience of using art materials in our comments section. What has been important for you?

For more information about Art Therapy, go to


Adrienne McDermid-Thomas

Alzheimer Scotland AHP Practice Education Facilitator


My role is to build on a programme of work of developing AHP student practice placements, an AHP internship programme and AHP volunteer opportunities in Alzheimer Scotland supporting the aspiration that all allied health professional students are skilled in dementia care on graduation.  I have had some really positive experiences of joint AHP working in the past and am very much looking forward to this further opportunity to work together with AHP colleagues and Alzheimer Scotland to develop ways of working which are sustainable and best suited to meeting the needs of people living with dementia and their carers and families.


Occupational Therapy Interns

To introduce ourselves:  We are Lynsey Robertson-Flannigan and Chris Cousins, 2 Occupational Therapy Students from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and we are currently completing a 3 month Occupational Therapy Internship based within Alzheimer Scotland in partnership with Santander Universities and Queen Margaret University.

This is what our 3 month internship provides: it gives us work experience within third sector focusing on dementia and AHP work. As there are two of us, we have joint projects we’re working on, a blog being one of them. We each also have our own individual projects that we will be working on throughout our time at Alzheimer Scotland and we’ll keep you updated on these at the blog.

We have put together a few video blogs on our work while we are here.  Please feel free to comment or ask questions.



Christopher Cousins

Occupational Therapy Intern  


I am an Occupational Therapy Student from Queen Margaret University and am currently working in the role as Occupational Therapy Intern within Alzheimer Scotland working with The Scottish Dementia Working Group and using social media to promote what we are doing. I am in post for June, July and August 2015.


Lynsey Robertson-Flannigan

Occupational Therapy Intern  


I am an Occupational Therapy Intern working within the policy team at Alzheimer Scotland. My internship has provided me with the excellent opportunity to work alongside the Scottish Dementia Working Group and support them with a project to share their ‘Top-Tips’ for living well with dementia. I am also completing a literature search on rights based practice to be used in the development of an MSc Dementia module being run at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.