Scotlandâ€™s Dementia Ambassadors are improving the quality of life for those living with dementia, their families and carers and are at the forefront of helping Scotland become a dementia-friendly society.
That was the message from Professor Jim McGoldrick, Convener of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), at a national conference to bring together 150 Dementia Ambassadors in Glasgow on 13 March 2015.
Dementia Ambassadors are people in social service and educational roles who have volunteered to develop their skills of working with people with dementia as part of the Promoting Excellence learning framework. There are currently 700 Dementia Ambassadors whose role is to promote best practice and support colleagues in their knowledge of working with people with dementia.
Opening the conference Professor McGoldrick said:
â€śThis is the first national event for Scotlandâ€™s social service Dementia Ambassadors and I am really pleased to be welcoming them on behalf of the Scottish Social Services Council and its partners.
â€śDementia Ambassadors are working right across Scotland, in peopleâ€™s homes, over 300 care homes and in colleges, to get people thinking differently about dementia and to improve knowledge and skills across the workforce. They have taken on a very important role and this national event is to recognise and celebrate that.â€ť
Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, told delegates:
â€śAt some point most of the 88,000 people in Scotland living with dementia and their families will need support from staff within our social care workforce. It fills me with hope and inspiration to know that throughout Scotland there are over 700 Dementia Ambassadors who are committed to leading the way in ensuring that our social care workforce have the right skills, the right commitment and the right values to ensure that we deliver the best support possible and protect the basic human rights and dignity of every person diagnosed with dementia.
â€śEvery Dementia Ambassador is part of an incredible force for change in Scotland, a force that has at its heart the hopes and aspirations of people with dementia and their families and a force that will ensure people with dementia and their families can lead an inclusive and meaningfulÂ life as equal and valued citizens of Scotland.â€ť
David Rennie, Workforce Consultant with Scottish Care, which represents independent providers of health and social care, said:
â€śScottish Care is delighted to support this important learning and sharing event bringing together Dementia Ambassadors, many of whom are from Scotlandâ€™s independent care home, care at home and housing support services. Their role is highly valued for showing personal leadership, promoting good practice where they work and in maintaining and enhancing care and support for people.â€ť
To help Dementia Ambassadors be easily identified in work settings they have been given specially-designed pin badges by the SSSC to recognise and highlight their skills and role.
The role of Dementia Ambassador includes:
- developing confidence in using the Promoting Excellence learning framework to improve practice
- promoting and distributing information about Promoting Excellence learning resources and opportunities within local areas
- holding small awareness sessions, offering peer support and/or signposting sources of information and support
- creating sustainability in improving dementia practice built on effective networking and ambassadorial support.
During the Dementia Ambassadors conference delegates had the opportunity to hear speakers from the Scottish Dementia Working Group, the National Dementia Carers Action Network, the Care Inspectorate, RNIB Scotland, Ark Housing Association, Playlist for Life and the SSSC.