Dementia Care Mapping - My Journey

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Last week Yvonne Manson, Dementia Lead at Balhousie Care Group took part in Dementia Care Mapping training at Bradford University.

The four day long course is designed to provide us with a greater understanding of how to deliver care to residents living with dementia within our homes. Here’s what she what Yvonne had to say:

Dementia Care Mapping Training

‘Dementia care mapping™ is an observational framework developed at the University of Bradford which records quality of life and quality of care from the perspective of the person living with dementia.

Balhousie care group have a person-centred care approach and we continually aim to develop in this area so I was excited to learn this new skill. The course was four days long and was being held in Heaton Mount which was a beautiful old building.

I travelled down on the train on Monday the 7th March and met the trainers and some of my fellow students at Heaton Mount. There were 15 of us on the course and we all had different backgrounds which meant discussions were varied and interesting.

Before attending the course, I questioned the validity of the tool, for example: by simply observing someone’s behaviour, how could I know with any sense of accuracy, how they were feeling or what their ‘ill or well-being’ scores would be? This doubt turned into intrigue after doing some initial research, then quickly disappeared once training started and we put the tool into practice.  

Practical training and observing

The first eye-opener for me was the initial role play scenario which the trainers acted out. These scenarios acted situations that may occur within a dementia setting. We were tasked with completing a raw data sheet during this time and map what was going within the scenario.

Despite the fact there were 15 sets of different eyes watching the same role play scenarios (and lots of different possible codes for the snapshots we were seeing), it was surprising that all 15 attendees coded the scenario the exactly the same way. This for me, was a game changer on the validity of the tool. 

Success in training

The course was about learning and development, each day we sat exams to ensure we were picking up the essential knowledge of the mapping tool.

I am pleased to say that I passed the course with highly successful marks. Going forward, I plan to use dementia care mapping™ for quality improvement, assessment and care planning, staff development as well as using it as a tool to measure the impact of interventions. Already I have lots of ideas for its use.

I look forward to using the tool to help deliver successful outcomes for residents and also supporting and informing others on it. I will be doing a talk on dementia care mapping™ at the first dementia ambassadors meeting to give others a view of what I am doing when I am there to map and what the benefits may be.

Dementia care mapping is about positive change and one that I am very excited about. This can only ever be a good thing as we look to the future.