Jakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is training to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey and thoughts….
In the second part of my blog I take a more in-depth look at dementia training and how it can help both staff and the residents we care for.
Here's a recap of the dual purpose of this months blog:
1. To tell you about the importance of the relationship between the Training Coordinator and the Admiral Nurse in a nursing home setting.
2. To introduce our Training Coordinator, Natalia, who will be writing an occasional blog for you in our Springhill Care Newsletter.
An excellent dementia training package helps the carers to understand what is expected from them and to expand their understanding of dementia in the wider context.
Natalia, who I introduced in part one of my last blog, as Riversway’s Training Coordinator, sees new carers and auxiliary staff through the induction programme and identifies that most new starters rarely know that there are more than one type of dementia. Also, although she sees some people who are naturally sensitive to people with dementia; she also sees new staff with fixed, stereotypical ideas about people with dementia, the most common being that ‘people with dementia are aggressive.’
Both of us believe that it is essential that we challenge these stigmas and lack of awareness to bring to the carers new understanding and a desire to find out about the benefits of working in the dementia care field.
Natalia’s knowledge of the new staff needs helps us to identify where to focus extra training and where to place them within the home.
Natalia and I continue to challenge the stereotypical beliefs through raising awareness of inappropriate, old fashioned and demeaning language use to that with a more positive intention. For example, changing ‘challenging behaviour’ to ‘distressed reaction.’ This change helps the focus to move from the resident with dementia being to blame for a behaviour to an understanding that there is an attempt at communication of an unmet need.
I see Natalia, our Training Coordinator, as someone who knows the staff training needs and can let me know where to focus the dementia care training and at what level. She sees me, the Admiral Nurse, as a trainer of the equivalent of Health Education England’s tier 1 and tier 2 dementia care and person-centred care training.
She also sees me as a useful resource in being someone at service manager level to give permission to the carers to take time with our residents and their relatives; to get to know them and their individual ways. Challenging the belief that we must all rush from one task to the next.
Our next project together is the development of a Professional Forum where staff can raise problems with theoretical training which does not always translate on the floor. The recognition of this need has come from the learning curves previously mentioned. There will of course be cake!
By Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home
If you missed part one of my blog please click HERE