Our Dementia Strategy: Theme Two

Education for the workforce

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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 second theme in the dementia strategy is a focus on educating our employees to ensure staff are trained, well informed and supported in best practice.

Training and development plays a vital role in ensuring that our residents are receiving the very best care that is personal to their needs and wants. Our new dementia strategy has put a focus on dementia training, with the introduction of the Promoting Excellence in Dementia Care programme. Over the coming year, our aim is to have all of our staff complete the five modules to ensure they reach ‘dementia skilled level,’ with others achieving enhanced level.

Importance for the staff

Nancy was the very first person within Balhousie Care Group to complete all five modules in Promoting Excellence. She’s been at Antiquary for four years and is a care assistant in the dementia unit and is dedicated to learning more about dementia. “No two days are the same so it’s important to know how best to approach each situation in the best way” comments Nancy. “I think it has helped get to know our residents better, finding out their individual needs and building better relationships.”

For Nancy, the training helped her think about aspects of dementia care she might not have done before. “One of the important things I’ve learned is how to help support families. I’m learning all the time and it’s been great to get a better understanding about it all.”

Importance for the manager

The Promoting Excellence in Dementia Care programme enables our home managers to ensure that all staff within the home have the knowledge for best practice. The five modules include; understanding dementia, promoting person and family centred care, promoting health and wellbeing for those with dementia, meeting the needs of a person with dementia who is distressed and supporting and protecting people’s rights.

Over at Wheatlands, John was the first person to complete all five modules. For home manager Grace Sloan, this was a fantastic achievement. “John is the first of the 80 staff here at Wheatlands who has completed the modules to achieve skilled level. This is a very important part of their learning and development and the dementia ambassadors within the home are striving to get all the staff to reach skilled level. John is a great example to all the staff and everybody here is very proud of him.”

Importance for the team

Staff at Pitlochry have been charging ahead with the training and now have over 90% of staff who have completed all five modules. Home manager Fiona commented: “We are incredibly proud of all the staff, who have put in a great deal of hard work to get to this level. The whole team have supported each other and it’s been a real team effort.” It has been fantastic to see the whole team across our care homes come together to learn and develop their knowledge about dementia, it's been a real team effort to push forward the Promoting Excellence.

Importance for development

Enhanced level training has been run differently to the core skilled level training and it concentrates on themes that the staff and home managers feel are important, so far we have completed enhanced training in the ‘dementia standards’, ‘meaningful activity’, ‘dementia and medication’ and palliative care, in March we have enhanced sessions planned on ‘cognitive stimulation therapy’ and ‘dementia and the environment’.

Our dementia consultant Yvonne Manson also arranges external speakers to attend to enhance learning and since the introduction of the strategy we have had various speakers come along. Wendy Johnstone from SSSC spoke to staff about the promoting excellence and leadership, Donald Macaskill Scottish care spoke on palliative care, Tommy Whitelaw discussed his ‘make a difference’ campaign and love stories, Edith Mackintosh Care Inspectorate spoke about wellness and exercise and Jackie Dennis care inspectorate led a training session on continence. The speakers and sessions are chosen based on what staff are asking for, what they feel would support them within their role. If someone would like to come and speak at one of the sessions please let us know.