Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is running specialist information sessions for staff, patients, carers and the public to become ‘Dementia Friends’, ensuring patients with the condition, their family members and carers feel understood.
To coincide with the world’s first G8 Summit on dementia (11 December 2013), the Trust wants to raise awareness about dementia and how it affects people, as well as the practical actions that Dementia Friends can take that could help someone with dementia living in their community.
Dementia Friends is an initiative to help members of the public understand what it might be like to live with dementia and then turn that understanding into action. The Alzheimer’s Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015 to help improve the lives of those living with dementia and their carers.
The free information sessions will provide people with facts about the illness and information so they feel confident in understanding people’s experience of living with dementia. The session will also direct them to further information and support available. The sessions are run by Dementia Friends Champions and are fully endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Society.
After attending the session, it is anticipated that volunteers should feel more confident about supporting people with dementia in their local community and about being a Dementia Friend.
More than 500 members of staff at the Trust have already taken part in a programme of Dementia Awareness training so that they have a better knowledge of what it’s like to live with dementia and ensure services are improving the quality of life for people affected by dementia.
Hospital staff took part in training, which encourages them to be aware of the condition and how they can help. This includes helping someone with dementia to communicate what they feel by looking for the meaning behind words and having more patience with them. The training instils the importance of person-centred care and seeing the person behind the illness.
Gill Drummond, the Trust’s Dementia Care Quality Lead, said: “As well as raising awareness of dementia with doctors, nurses, and a range of hospital staff, from porters to receptionists and cleaners, through our dementia awareness training, the Dementia Friends information session is available to carers and family members of people affected by dementia as well as volunteers and the public whose attitudes can make a tremendous difference.
“We want to offer everyone the opportunity to play a key role in helping improve people with dementia’s quality of life, to help people understand what it’s like to live with dementia and the actions they can take to make their community’s dementia friendly.”
The next Dementia Friends information session is on 15th January 2014 at the Moorside Unit, Trafford General Hospital, Moorside Road, Davyhulme, Manchester M41 5SL. To book your place or find out more about upcoming Dementia Friends sessions, log on to www.gmmh.nhs.uk/recovery. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0161 772 3782.