Expert staff from the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies have been helping care homes and community groups to support people living with dementia in the current pandemic.
The Association has links with many service providers locally and nationally and has been offering advice, guidance and practical support.
This has included supporting those running and setting up Meeting Centres for people affected by dementia to adjust to a new model of working, including shared learning about the use and implementation of technology such as Zoom to facilitate activity and carer sessions; one-to-one support via FaceTime and WhatsApp; and more traditional approaches (post, telephone, newsletters) which have inspired creativity in staff and volunteers and provided ‘ a life-line’ to vulnerable people isolated at home.
Staff have also developed three advice guides for Worcestershire County Council – one for care homes (which has been distributed to all care homes in Herefordshire and Worcestershire), one for domiciliary care providers, and one for informal carers of people living with dementia at home, and have provided telephone and email support to care homes and providers.
Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the Association for Dementia Studies, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is confusing and distressing for most people but imagine what it’s like for those living with dementia, who may not understand why things need to be done differently, why they or others around them need to be isolated, or why carers are wearing face masks.
“Care homes, community groups and individual carers have all been trying to find the best ways to support people living with dementia while balancing the need for physical distancing, isolation and infection control. Every person is different and so the way they are experiencing this crisis and the help they need will also be different.
“We have been doing our very best to support people with dementia, their families and those frontline staff – some of whom are literally paying with their lives. Many of our team have been doing unsung work to support care homes, housing-with-care and communities through our Meeting Centre networks, whether through providing advice or just a friendly voice at the end of the phone. We’ve even supplied cookies and activity kits to try and boost morale. Particular thanks to Shirley Evans and Isabelle Latham who have led on much of this work.”
The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), established in 2009, is a multi-professional team who are experts in the field of person-centred dementia care and support.
Through research, education, consultancy and scholarship, the Association makes a cutting-edge contribution to building evidence-based practical ways of working with people living with dementia and their families that enables them to live well.
Last year, the University won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community as a result of the Association’s work to establish and develop Meeting Centres to support people living with dementia.
The University has launched a Postgraduate Certificate in Person Centred Dementia Studies, which will be delivered fully online from this September. To find out more about the course email Course Leader Chris Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org