Dementia care team tell international conference how volunteer with early onset dementia has transformed dementia care training at the Trust
A nurse and a volunteer with early onset dementia from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, have told top experts at an international conference how they have transformed dementia care training at the Trust.
Nurse Jules Knight, 47, and volunteer Dianne Campbell, 49, who has vascular dementia, told delegates at the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference how the Trust has transformed its dementia care training since Dianne started to help facilitate the sessions. Training now focuses on giving staff the tools to help patients with dementia ‘live well’ and have a comfortable stay in hospital, rather than just focusing on their medical symptoms.
During the training staff have the chance to ask Dianne questions about her life with dementia and to understand what it may be like for patients to be admitted to hospital. The training also sees staff participate in role play activities and group work to prepare them for working with patients who have dementia.
Jules Knight said: “A stay in hospital can be a confusing and distressing experience for patients with dementia for whom routine and familiarity are important. The insights provided by Dianne gives our staff have a much greater appreciation of the challenges dementia patients face in hospital and ensures they are fully equipped to give patients the best possible stay with us.
“The feedback from staff about the training has been excellent and Dianne is now a key member of our dementia care team. I would encourage other healthcare providers to adopt a similar approach to help enhance the experience of some the most vulnerable patients.”
Dianne Campbell said: “Although I am only in the early stages of vascular dementia, when I become unwell the condition has a big impact on my ability to function. I can experience the same fear and confusion as patients whose dementia is more severe than mine. This gives me a unique insight which I can share with staff and help them better understand patients’ needs when they are in hospital.
“I applaud the Trust for being so forward thinking and I am delighted to see the positive impact my experience of dementia has had on Trust staff looking after these patients. I look forward to working with them further as we continue to develop dementia care training.”