St Catherine’s connects with those living with dementia this Hospice Care Week
Nursing staff from St Catherine’s Hospice have completed training in dementia care as part of the organisation’s commitment to caring for people living with more than one condition.
In total 17 nurses and nursing assistants achieved the level 3 qualification in dementia care, delivered as part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework in partnership with Preston’s College.
It is one element in a series of initiatives hosted by the hospice over the past year designed to improve care for those living with dementia, and to raise awareness of the condition amongst staff and volunteers.
Staff received their certificates from trustee Lesley Anne Fraser, chair of the patient care committee, in a ceremony at St Catherine’s Hospice ahead of this year’s Hospice Care Week which runs from October 5 to 11.
The theme in 2015 is ‘connecting care’ and the training illustrates how St Catherine’s works in many different ways to connect with patients and families affected by different conditions, and different combinations of conditions.
Nurse Karen Sutcliffe said she had found the training very helpful. “It’s improved our confidence and opened our eyes as what to look for in dementia,” she said.
“The sessions have increased our knowledge and understanding of dementia, and taught us how to apply it to what we do here at the hospice.”
Nursing assistant Rachel Browne added: “It was very interesting to gain an insight into the working mind of dementia.
“By investing in training like this, St Catherine’s is helping us to care for people living with this condition, and their families, in the way which is right for them and their individual circumstances.”
The training is the latest in a series of initiatives set up to raise awareness of dementia and improve hospice care for those who may be living with the condition as well as another incurable illness.
In June 2014, Community Services Manager Linda Gregory and Clinical Nurse Specialist Leone Beet qualified as ‘Dementia Champions’ and over the following six months rolled out presentations across the organisation about how to become a ‘dementia friend’. The national campaign is designed to raise awareness of what it is like to live with dementia and the small ways people can help.
Then in October last year the annual Clinical Nurse Specialist conference was organised with the theme ‘remembering yesterday, caring today’. The event attracted key national speakers from the Alzheimer’s Society, as well as patients living with dementia and families affected by it.
The formal dementia care training was delivered earlier this year by St Catherine’s clinical educator Sue Clayton in partnership with Preston’s College, who sourced funding for the qualification.
Lesley Anne thanked the college for their flexibility in how the course was delivered, as well as the nurses themselves who completed the training in their own time.
She said: “At St Catherine’s we are committed to providing high quality, personalised care which meets the needs of each individual and their circumstances.
“By investing in dementia training and raising awareness of the condition amongst the hospice workforce, we are helping to ensure these high standards are maintained.”
Alex Burton, founder of Lancashire Dementia Voices – a campaign group which runs regular drop-in meetings at The Mill community hub in the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice – said the work St Catherine’s had been doing with dementia was very important.
Alex, aged 66 who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease when he was 62, said: “It is important to raise awareness of dementia and tackle the myth of the old lady or the old man sitting in a nursing home. There are more than 100 different types of dementia which can affect people in many different ways and at different stages in their life. The condition is more common than cancer and there is a huge issue of people living with it without it officially being diagnosed. As the population ages, the numbers will only rise.
“We need to raise awareness, tackle myths and get people talking about dementia so that people who are living with dementia, and caring for those affected by it, get the support they need.
“It is good to see St Catherine’s taking these steps to improve their services for hospice patients with dementia. We would be happy to work with them going forward to help with further training and improvements.”
The next meeting of Lancashire Dementia Voices takes place at The Mill, St Catherine’s Park, Lostock Lane, Lostock Hall, PR5 5XU on Thursday November 26th between 3pm and 5pm. Click here for further details.
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