25th September 2017

Great Care and Support for People Living with Dementia

When people ask me what Skills for Care do (and for that matter what social care is!) I could give them any number of responses linked to policy, statistics, resources, best practice examples and good news stories. Ultimately, Skills for Care help people and organisations who are providing great care and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

What does great care and support for people living with dementia look like and what are the things that organisations can do to support this?

One of the great privileges of working for Skills for Care is that I get to see and hear about a lot good practice. I often ask these providers what are the key practical things they would share with other providers to improve dementia care quality. In no particular order, these are the most common themes they mention.

Personalised Care and Support

We are all diverse and have different needs. Care providers often highlight the importance of meeting individual needs. For example, I was once told by a care provider of someone who they were supporting living with dementia who would only eat sandwiches. By working with the family of the individual, the care provider learned that the individual would not eat meals unless it was physically very hot. Very simple, very personal, very effective.

Life Story

Part of what makes us unique is, of course, our individual life story. Partners, children, family, friends, when we were born, what job we had, where we have lived and others factors. Without exception the best care quality and outcomes for people living with dementia are when the care provider has worked with the individual, their family and their friends to really understand the person.

Meaningful Activity

Quite simply we all want to do things that are meaningful and have importance to us. How can we support people with dementia to take positive risks, to take part in activities with meaning, and to feel valued? Huge numbers of examples are available on our website of people with dementia who have gone swimming, gone to the cinema, helped in a care environment, gone ‘back to work’ – take a look.  Skills for Care - Dementia

Triggers for Behaviour We May Find Challenging

Often this arises from unmet needs or particular triggers to behaviour. There are clear links to personalised care and support and understanding the individual.

Active and Reflective Learning

Providing care and support to people living with dementia can be very challenging. Staff teams need time to reflect on their practice and, crucially, how they can improve it and the quality of care and support. This maybe through supervision and appraisal sessions, or indeed through team meetings. In addition, regular on the job and off the job learning is often highlighted by providers as making a real difference.

Please do get in touch with Skills for Care if you have any comments or suggestions.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

James Cross

Skills for Care

Since 2011, James has been working as Head of Area and as National Dementia Lead for Skills for Care. James has also undertaken a secondment at the Department of Health in the dementia policy team during this time. Read more

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