We have been working hard to ensure almost 4,000 staff are to become dementia aware so we become a dementia friendly organisation.
This approach will help deliver on the Department of Health mandate, requiring staff across NHS Trusts to deliver high quality, effective, compassionate care. In this case, through additional education and training, making staff more aware of the needs of people with dementia and their families.
For a number of years the Trust has been promoting ‘Dementia Friends Information Sessions’ to its staff alongside Alzheimer’s Society and other supporting agencies. This has seen the Trust contribute well over 1,000 of its staff becoming Dementia Friends or Champions and have a greater understanding of the condition. The continuing national campaign aims to transform the way we think, act and talk about dementia, by providing an insight into what it is like to live with the condition.
Tracey Wrench, Chief Nurse and Director of Operations, said: “Our original goal was to recruit over 1,000 staff members which we completed in 2016. This is a great achievement and a great way to extend our commitment to ensure patients and carers have the necessary care, support and advice. Subsequently we have been working to further develop ongoing training needs for our staff and aim to ensure all receive the appropriate training, as we work to deliver the enhanced programme commissioned by the Department of Health and developed in collaboration by Skills for Health and Health Education England (HEE) in partnership with Skills for Care. This will involve various levels of training (Tiers 1, 2 or 3) dependent upon the individual staff needs.”
The new national framework supports workforce development, and in particular, the expansion and delivery of appropriate and consistent dementia education / training which will directly benefit patients and carers. Standardising the approach will reduce inconsistency; potential gaps in knowledge and promotes best practice.
Part of the ongoing developments within the Trust’s Dementia Care pathway, are seeing clinical teams proactively providing face to face Tier 1 Dementia awareness training to non-clinical front line staff, working within the pathway, such as reception/front desk, administration and housekeeping so their own awareness and commitment to giving the best possible support is evident.
The Trust is also planning to make the Tier 1 training an online eLearning resource available to carers too. The aim is to give carers of dementia patients a clearer picture on the types of behaviours and challenges they may face as the condition develops over time. Giving the necessary support and some understanding of knowing what to possibly expect and how best to deal with situations as they arrive.
Further support is provided by the Trust for carers in general with a Coping with Caring course in collaboration with the Recovery Academy, this helps build resilience and how to cope with caring.
Anne Marie Snelson, from Dementia Friends, Alzheimer’s Society said:
'‘We are so pleased to see Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust deliver on their commitment to the campaign and now, through the adoption of a new training and delivery package, help create so many new Dementia Friends during the next 12 months and beyond. This will definitely help reduce stigma and promote inclusion for those with the condition. These new dementia aware staff members will join over 2.3 million existing Dementia Friends across England, Wales.”
There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and we all have our part to play in making our communities more dementia friendly. The Alzheimer’s Society initiative is the biggest ever social action movement to change perceptions of dementia.