Dementia care that is out of the ordinary

Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia generally, are increasing problems. Many of our homes are registered to provide care for people suffering from these problems.
Whilst all care homes are independently inspected, the standards used have little specific content for dementia care. Consequently, there are no clear, formal benchmarks for quality in dementia care. For example, there is no required training course or qualification for care staff working in this important area. A survey in 2001 of residential and nursing homes found that no home showed even a fair standard of care for people with dementia (Ballard et al, 2001). In our view, one of the best sources of training in this specialist area currently available is provided by the Alzheimer’s Society charity.
All of our staff involved in this area of care will be trained using their recommended training courses, with their examination results independently evaluated by the Alzheimer’s Society. We have also invested extensively in leading edge technology to help reduce risk levels for residents with advanced dementia. While mindful of the need to encourage independence and freedom of choice, we are aware that in some cases a resident with advanced dementia may present a serious risk to themselves – for example, by wandering away from the home inappropriately.
In such cases, as part of our care planning, we will discuss with the family and professional colleagues such as the GP, social worker and community psychiatric nurse, whether the use of subtle alert devices, to warn staff that the resident is leaving the home, are appropriate. We have reviewed best practice advice on environmental design for residents with dementia and are adapting our homes wherever appropriate. Often these changes are small, but combined together they make the environment safer and more comfortable for residents with dementia problems.