Supporting people with dementia
Skills for Care is supporting Dementia Awareness week 19 - 25 May. For more information visit http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/remembertheperson
As the number of people with dementia increases it is important that the adult social care workforce has the skills and knowledge needed to provide the high quality services required. Skills for Care has developed a number of resources and dementia qualifications that support employers and their staff.
Supporting people in the advance stages of dementia
Advanced stages of dementia guide (May 2013): a case study-based manager's guide to good practice in learning and development for social care workers supporting people in the advanced stages of dementia.
This guide focuses on developing the skills of the social care workforce that support people with dementia. It has been compiled by Skills for Care, working closely with social care employers and key partners across England. It is aimed at leaders and managers working in services that are providing care and support to people in the advanced stages of dementia. The guide considers how reminiscence can be used by the workforce to support people with dementia. It provides examples of meaningful activity for the workforce to use to engage people who have dementia.
It also highlights dementia-specific qualifications, which can be used to develop the knowledge and skills of social care staff, what support is available from other professionals to help them, as well as many other useful areas. Throughout the guide there are a number of case studies and examples, as well as links to further resources to support employers and organisations.
Supporting dementia workers
Supporting dementia workers - A case study-based guide to good practice in learning and development for social care workers supporting people with dementia supports leaders and managers in developing their workforces to enable them to provide the highest quality of care for people with dementia.
This guide considers how workforce planning and development can best improve the outcomes for people with dementia, supporting managers to work in the most effective way with training providers to deliver service outcomes and implement the Common Core Principles to Support People with Dementia.
Having worked closely with social care employers, key partners and training providers across the country, Skills for Care is able to say that this guide is developed 'for the sector by the sector', so we are confident that the information, advice and guidance contained within it will support the development of the adult social care workforce.
Dementia: workers and carers together
This short practical guide has hands-on advice for care workers in day centres, domiciliary care, residential care, social work and related roles, and for social care managers, on typical experiences of family and friends who are caring for a person with dementia and the support they need. It is illuminated throughout with quotes giving real carers' perspectives. The guide stresses that the social care role is to support the carer as well as the person with dementia, and to supplement the carer's work, not replace it.
The guide has been jointly developed by Skills for Care and Dementia UK and is free to download from the Skills for Care website.
Dementia and carers: workers' resource
Dementia and carers: workers' resource - Information for care workers supporting family and friends carers of people with dementia is a brief guide to complement Dementia: workers & carers together. It outlines the main areas of knowledge that a care worker supporting a person with dementia and their family or friends carers should have. Published jointly by Skills for Care and Dementia UK, it addresses recognising the signs of dementia, support when there is a diagnosis, social care assessments for both the person with dementia and the carer, living independently as dementia advances, and legal and financial issues care workers need to know about.
Common Core Principles for supporting people with dementia
The Common Core Principles for Supporting People with Dementia - a guide to training the social care and health workforce (pdf, 38pp, 1mb) will help to develop a workforce that responds confidently to the person with dementia, understanding how to enter their world and support the life they are leading.
Rationale for developing the common core principles
Dementia refers to a collection of symptoms characterised by a progressive loss of cognitive abilities affecting reasoning, communication and the ability to carry out routine activities associated with daily living. It is a complex condition that can be linked with a number of medical difficulties and therefore requires a careful diagnosis. The condition is likely to deteriorate over time and carries significant implications for everyone involved. However, careful advice can provide reassurance to families and enable people to adapt their lifestyles to accommodate the changes that are taking place and 'live well with dementia'. It is becoming increasingly common with one in six people over the age of 80 having a form of dementia. (Dementia UK The full report, Alzheimer's Society, 2007). See www.scie.org.uk/publications/dementia/about.asp for a full explanation of dementia.
Recognising the early signs of dementia can be difficult and it takes time to make a diagnosis. An assessment requires a good knowledge of the person affected as well as a careful consideration of physical factors to ensure that underlying medical changes are identified (National Institute of Clinical Excellence and Social Care Institute of Excellence Guidelines 2007). The process of diagnosis must be accompanied by sensitive support and compassion as people affected and their families start to understand the longer-term implications of the condition.
Every person with dementia should have the support of people who are confident in adapting their interaction to reduce the stress and anxiety that dementia can bring. It is essential that support is tailored to the person and their personal interests and specific needs, encouraging independence and choice in the decisions they make. The purpose of the principles set out here is to enable health and social care settings to become 'dementia friendly', with a workforce who are confident in supporting dementia, whether in community, hospital or specialist settings. We have included references to resources that can be used informally or as part of a specific training programme to implement the common core principles in the workplace.
Training and development has a key role in the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy (DH 2009) and these common core principles will support development of the wider workforce. The best way to create a workforce that completely understands and responds positively to people with dementia is for workers, students and trainees to have these principles embedded in their practice. The common core principles should be used as a general framework, which can be adapted and used flexibly according to the specific needs of the setting. They can provide the basis of training and development for individual workers, teams and for wider corporate training programmes. They have been mapped to generic national occupational standards and agreed units of learning available through the Qualifications and Credit Framework. Employers are encouraged to use these resources as a foundation for their development plans for specific local settings. Section 3 gives the opportunity to contextualise the principles and national occupational standards to specific situations.
How to use the common core principles
The common core principles will enable health and social care practitioners to respond in a timely and appropriate way to the needs of people with emerging signs of dementia as well as to those with a confirmed diagnosis of the condition. They have been developed using current policy and guidance - particularly Living Well with Dementia: A National Dementia Strategy (DH 2009) http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/NationalDementiaStrategy/index.htm
the National Dementia Declaration for England (DAA 2010) - and advice from carers and practitioners. The common core principles will be a central element in supporting organisations to implement their local dementia strategies and plans as indicated in diagram 1.
They will support developments which take place locally to improve the experience of people with dementia and their carers using health and social care services, along with other guidance such as the Core Competences for end of life care (SfC/SfH/DH/NHS 2009) and Carers Matter - Everybodys Business (SfC/SfH 2011). In addition it may also be helpful to consider the Department of Health document Quality outcomes for people with dementia: Building on the work of the National Dementia Strategy (DH, 2010).
Care Fit for VIPS
Care Fit for VIPS is based on the nationally recognised VIPS Framework of Dementia Care and provides resources which you will need to develop person-centred care in your care home.
The Care Fit for VIPS toolkit will help you to:
- Decide how well you are delivering care at the moment and help you to identify your priorities.
- Find useful information and resources covering all aspects of person-centred dementia care.
- Plan, test and record ideas for improvements.
The VIPS Framework was developed by the Association of Dementia Studies, led by Professor Dawn Brooker at the University of Worcester.
For more information about the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit please visit their website
There are around 750,000 people in England today living with dementia. Even though this is a progressive disease which gradually destroys a person's ability to make sense of the world they live in, we know that people with dementia can have a good quality of life at every stage in their condition and usually wish to remain active and engaged for as long as they can.
However, some people with dementia are deprived of this opportunity. The inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medication can have significant consequences for the person. Antipsychotics can increase people's symptoms of dementia and cause dizziness and unsteadiness, leading to falls and injuries and robbing people of their quality of life. It is estimated that over 20% of people with dementia, around 180,000 people, are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication.
In November 2009, the Bannerjee report highlighted these risks, and concluded that antipsychotics are too often used as a first-line response to behavioural difficulty in dementia rather than as a considered secondline treatment when other non-pharmacological approaches have failed.
Skills for Care are pleased to be working in partnership with the Dementia Action Alliance and its members to support the recently launched programme - 'a call to action on the use of anti-psychotic drugs for people with dementia'. Everyone working in social care and health can contribute to the reduction in the use of anti-psychotic drugs. For example within social care settings teams can be supported to work more closely with General Practitioners to reduce the use of anti-psychotic medication and learning and development opportunities can be provided for teams to support the use of alternatives to medication.
You can find out more about the programme, and how you and your organisation can become involved at the NHS institute website (http://www.institute.nhs.uk/dementiac2a/) and also from the following documents.
- The Right Prescription - a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia (pdf)
- Commitment for commissioners in heath, social care and GP commissioning (pdf)