Communication is fundamental to our approach to care; it is vital to building relationships and providing the responsive, bespoke, person-centred care which we believe ensures residents have the best, most comfortable, and happy quality of life possible.
Dementia can make communication challenging – but it is a challenge that can be worked through and overcome, especially when staff develop their understanding of the disease, not just from a clinical perspective – but also from the point of view of the person living with dementia.
So for that reason, we have introduced a new training programme for the team, which aims to help them empathise with and understand the experience of someone with dementia from the inside out.
Staff at Westacre have recently undergone Dementia Interpreters training. Through experiential sessions where they had their senses and abilities, such as sight or hearing, removed or altered to reflect the impact of the dementia, they are gaining a deeper insight into what life is really for some of the residents they care for.
And by understanding in this visceral way how dementia hampers and undermines the normal modes of communication, they will be able to better tune in to and interpret the communicative signals, sounds and gestures of someone with late-stage dementia, and so understand more clearly their needs and preferences.
The ongoing training is provided by Training 2 CARE (UK) Ltd, whom Westacre Nursing Home has worked with previously. Back in September last year they brought their Dementia Virtual Tour to the home and gave our staff and members of the community the opportunity to see, feel and hear like someone who lives with dementia.
It was evidently a powerful and eye-opening experience then, and is even more so now for our team, combined with their wider reflection and learning.
We are also thrilled that, through our participation in the course, the staff at Westacre will have the opportunity to contribute to a ‘dementia dictionary.’ This resource, a world first, will then be shared, free of charge, with professionals and family members caring for people with dementia, to improve communication and care across the board.
This training, part of our ongoing programme of continuous professional development at Westacre Nursing Home, is something we’re particularly excited about. It has the potential to improve communication and so, in a very tangible way, improve how we care for and respond to our residents every day
Dementia might put up barriers – but as always, in every way, we are committed to breaking them down.