Family members inspired to promote excellence in dementia care

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Jack Gardener, whose wife Jean is a resident at Balhousie Forth View Care Home in Fife, has become the first family member of a resident in a Balhousie care home to reach ‘dementia skilled level' in a program aimed at Promoting Excellence in dementia care.

Jack visits Forth View to see Jean on a daily basis and had showed an interest in the training the staff were receiving on dementia care, so the home manager, Gordon Candlish, offered the training to Jack.

Jack completed all five modules within the programme to reach skilled level including; 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. The Promoting Excellence in dementia care framework was developed by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). 

Speaking of his achievement, Jack commented:

"I enjoyed learning more about dementia by completing the modules with the help of the staff at Forth View. Each module is different and some were more relevant to me than others. As Jean's dementia is at a more advance stage, I found module four was particularly interesting and I felt I was getting lots of up to date knowledge."

Jack added:

"I would say to other people to do it, if for no other reason than to improve your own knowledge and be able to support your loved one."

Last year, Balhousie Care Group introduced their Balhousie Dementia Strategy, which has six themes designed to inform, support and influence the very best in dementia care. One of those themes focuses on education and each of the 24 care homes are working towards ensuring all staff have completed the Promoting Excellence programme.

Yvonne Manson, Balhousie Care Group dementia consultant, said:

"When we launched our Balhousie Dementia Strategy and Dementia Ambassador program last year, it was always with a view of not just supporting staff to increase their knowledge but also families of residents too. I am overjoyed that we have now had our first family member complete skilled level in promoting excellence in dementia care. I admire Jack for taking the time to complete the modules and look at ways he can support his wife by increasing his own knowledge. "

Gordon Candlish, home manager at Balhousie Forth View, added:

"Jack showed great aptitude and always asked for clarification on anything he was unsure of. He has told me he got a great deal of benefit from completing the promoting excellence course and now has an increased understanding on all aspects of dementia care which will support his visits to the home."