Person centred approaches to dementia care

Featured article - 12 October 2016
Pamela Holmes, SCIE Practice Development Manager

Head-shot of the author, Pamela Holmes, SCIE Practice Development Manager

Providing good dementia care is based having a good relationship with the person with the diagnosis. That’s the basic message of the Open Dementia course that’s taking place at SCIE on Thursday 20th October. Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community supported by families, friends and professional carers. But how will the training help you? And what does a good relationship mean?

It’s often said that when you meet one person with dementia, you’ve met one person with dementia. It’s vital to realise that dementia affects people in individual ways. You have to change your care and approach – make it individual. It’s important to realise that the impact of the disease will also depend on what kind of dementia the person has. For example, vascular dementia affecting about 17% of people with dementia, often disturbs movement and bladder function so the person may need help with those tasks. People with Alzheimer’s disease on the other hand (the diagnosis of 62%) may affect planning, decisions-making and language. Knowledge is power, said the seventeenth century British philosopher Francis Bacon. Furnished with knowledge about dementia which will help you to build strong relationships with your clients.

There will be tips given such as finding out about a person’s background, what he or she enjoyed and still enjoys (music or walking or cats?), what makes the person anxious. All this will help to establish trust and understanding between you and the person with dementia. Supporting them to make decisions, as is required under the Mental Capacity Act, will also be explored. Learning about this piece of legislation will make you more confident to support people to make decisions when they have the capacity to do so.

It’s often said that when a person receives a diagnosis of dementia, the whole family ‘gets’ dementia. This course will alert you to the challenges and concerns that the 670,000 informal carers of people with dementia in the UK face, helping you to build a good relationship with those you come into contact with in your locality.

Challenging and informative, this course will increase your skills and competencies in supporting people with a disease which affects some 850,000 of us in the UK.

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