Our Dementia Strategy: Theme One

Dementia Ambassadors

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Last year, we launched our Balhousie Dementia Strategy, which has six themes designed to inform, support and influence the very best in dementia care. We wanted to let you know a little more about it, about how we’re implementing it within our homes and some of our people who have embraced it…

The first theme in the dementia strategy is that each of our Care Homes will have at least two active dementia ambassadors.

Dementia Care is a large part of the care we provide within our homes and so it’s been important for us to develop a Dementia Strategy that incorporates working together. Dementia Ambassadors are present in all of our care homes and are the go-to person for dementia advice. They’ve been meeting and working both together and with our Dementia Consultant, Yvonne, as well as other influential dementia specialists on how best to implement an exceptional standard of care and understanding of those who live with dementia.

Dedicated ambassador meetings

A big part of the dementia ambassador programme is giving our ambassadors the chance to come together every other month to share ideas, knowledge and learn a thing or two and they attend dedicated dementia ambassador meetings lead by Yvonne.

This week, we’re really excited to have two guest speakers at our first meeting of 2017. Heather Edwards, who is the dementia consultant at the Care Inspectorate and Tommy Whitelaw, project engagement lead at Health and social Care Alliance Scotland will be talking to our dementia ambassadors all about his ‘Make a difference campaign’ and the difference carers can have not just on people with dementia but on their families. He will also be asking staff to make their own pledges for the campaign.

Yvonne comments: “Heather is a very positive person and is always looking to bring about positive change and together with Tommy they are an excellent start to 2017 for the dementia ambassadors. It’s really important to be able to hear from other dementia professionals about their campaigns and to work together to ensure best practice across Scotland. It provides our dementia ambassadors with a fantastic opportunity to learn a little something, ask questions and be inspired and I know they are really looking forward to hearing from Heather and Tommy and adding their pledges to the ‘make a difference’ campaign.”

Unique ambassador-led projects

Everybody loves a bit of competition and so every now and then we like to set our dementia ambassadors with a little project. Late last year, they were tasked with creating unique ‘rummage boxes’ for residents based on their interests, hobbies and life stories. We wanted our dementia ambassadors to work closely with the resident and their relative to learn more about the person and create personalised boxes that would evoke special memories.

Our dementia ambassadors went above and beyond, creating boxes that contained special school memories (complete with plimsols!) to helping bring back memories of life on the farm with pictures of tractors and toy farm animals. Yvonne added: “Creating these memory rummage boxes gives residents the physical objects that are likely to trigger memories from their past. It’s been so heart-warming to see pictures and hear from ambassadors how residents reacted to the box that held memories special to them.”

We we’re delighted by the response from the project and know that many are continuing to develop rummage boxes for more residents in their homes. We’d like to say a quick congratulations to the winners Pat Lawrie and Darlene Collins from Monkbarns. Runners up included: Heather Wighton (Clement Park), Lauren Keen (St Ronans), Jade Scott (Dalnaglar), Alison Buchan (Moyness) and Anna Anderson and Sarah Hamilton (Forth View).

Stay tuned…

The dedication and effort shown by our dementia ambassadors across all of our homes has been brilliant to see and we look forward to sharing more about what they’re up to with you over the coming year.