I have now been in post as an Admiral Nurse at Riversway for just over six months. Last October I had my induction where we looked at the aims of Admiral Nursing:
*Improving relatives’ wellbeing through adjustment to diagnosis and coping with a caring role
*Improving the wellbeing and quality of life of the person with dementia
*Enhancing colleagues’ knowledge and experience of working with relatives and people with dementia
I also identified five areas within my job role: complex care needs; promotion of mental health needs; management; training and meaningful activity. The last two I knew would be enhanced considerably by the new training and activity coordinators, Natalia and Marilisa.
In order to ensure that my ideas for developing the service were in line with what was required by the directors, staff, residents and families at Riversway, Laura, the Research and Evaluation Officer from Dementia UK, asked me to do a questionnaire to identify key areas and priorities for these stakeholder groups. What was interesting as a result was that we identified that relatives and residents were prioritising quality outcomes whereas the staff were asking for the tools to provide the outcomes.
*Do baseline audits within the home for dementia care
*Develop a Dementia Champion programme in order to train 10 Dementia Champions within Riversway
*Group work with residents and relatives
*Continue with training dementia care to all staff
*Continue working with supporting residents with complex care needs and their relatives
Over the last six months a lot of work has gone into place. We have looked at the Social Care and the NHS Outcomes and the CQC Frameworks to ensure that what was being planned fitted in with recognised good practice. Presentation power points have been written, initial audits have been completed and Marilisa, Natalia and I have discussed training and meaningful activity needs within the home.
So where are we 6 months on?
The Dementia Champions course has now had its fourth meeting.
The first was at a ‘virtual dementia tour’. Jan, my manager, agreed for all of our champions to attend this course where participants use clothing and items, such as gloves and dark glasses, to help them experience what it might be like to have dementia and some accompanying sensory impairment.
All of us agreed that the experience was very powerful and immediately helped us to relate to some of the residents within the home. Natalia has booked the tour specifically for Riversway in the near future so that 24 more of Riversway staff can put themselves in the shoes of those with dementia.
The other sessions so far have looked at statistics regarding dementia; practical information involving the different types of dementia and the required role of the Dementia Champions as:
*Leaders in dementia care within the home
*Role modelling established and proven good practice
*Carers who are in touch with their own feelings of compassion and empathy
*Carers who understand the importance of good dementia care for residents and relatives within the home
*Carers who are prepared to take time to look for messages behind certain behaviours.
The carers involved have been chosen for their abilities to relate and communicate well and have shown a great interest and involvement in the work so far. Two projects to enhance the experience, will be rolling out Dementia Friends across the home and also using This Is Me as a way to develop life story work.
Finally today Riversway held the first Forget Me Not cafe run by Marilisa and I where relatives and residents are invited to come to share cake and coffee whilst chatting with staff about residents’ life histories. This helps the staff to get to know the residents well in order to help meet their needs and maintain their identity.
The other benefit of the cafe is to allow relatives to meet with volunteers and staff who understand the difficulties of walking with dementia, giving support as needed. One relative commented that he had been helped a lot within five minutes of arriving.
The cafe today was very successful and I’d like to thank everyone who participated in any way: the residents and relatives who came to join and support us at the first event; Alan, our volunteer, who shares his experiences so generously; the staff who made it happen and of course Simon and his catering team who provided such great cakes!
Our next Forget Me Not cafe is on Tuesday 20th June at 10.30.