A new network of Dementia Ambassadors has recently been created in the Perth and Kinross area. SSSC Promoting Excellence Project Officer, Jacqui Mackintosh has been working with Isla Syme, an NHS Care Home Liaison Community Mental Health Nurse, and tells us about the improvements that have been made by working together across the area.
Isla, an SSSC Dementia Ambassador, has worked with people with dementia, their families and carers for around 20 years and in her role with the NHS she organises training for workers throughout Perth and Kinross. Because of her role which crosses both the NHS and social services, it became clear to her that there were valuable opportunities available.
Isla and I met to explore the potential benefits of creating a Dementia Ambassador network. We identified that by creating a forum for shared learning and creativity within the care homes supported by the Strathmore Older People’s Community Mental Health Team would be a step in the right direction.
We called out to all the Dementia Ambassadors in the area and our initial meeting was a success – twelve attended, including carers, senior carers, registered mental health and general nurses, deputy managers and managers. Four of the Dementia Ambassadors had recently completed a Promoting Excellence Skilled Level training programme, which has already had a positive impact on the standards of care provided.
Since the meeting some changes have already been implemented. These include an improvement of menu choices and meal time provision, regular “drop in for morning coffee” sessions, which are open to the general public to encourage improved community connections and planning with families to compile a “playlist for life” to enhance person centred care.
One of the Dementia Ambassadors said:
“By sharing thoughts, ideas, experiences and having the expert input from our facilitators, and after working through the Skilled Level, I feel that I have improved my practice immensely, thus benefiting the residents in my care who are living with dementia.”
Isla Syme said:
“Promoting Excellence has brought a fresh approach to facilitating the development of care staff, in their skills and knowledge about dementia.”
The Strathmore Dementia Ambassador Network will to meet regularly, giving opportunities for shared learning and training with ongoing support from Strathmore Older Peoples Community Mental Health Team and the SSSC.
The Older Peoples Community Mental Health Team within Perth and Kinross are monitoring this project hoping to rollout this model to other areas.
For more information please contact Jacqui at: PromotingExcellence@sssc.uk.com