Living with Dementia – an interactive training session to improve awareness
A training company from Liverpool
helped to raise awareness of people living with dementia at an
interactive session aimed at doctors, nurses and allied health
The company's crew of actors
explored a range of scenarios designed to help think about
dementia, how it affects families and the challenges it presents.
The session consisted of a series of scenes and presentations,
interspersed with comments and questions by the company manager to
involve the audience.
The focus of training consultancy
AFTA Thought is to increase understanding and empathy for patients
with the often misunderstood condition. "We bring to life the lived
experience of people with dementia," said director Mary Austin. One
of the general messages is that dementia is not a natural part of
the ageing process.
The work is based on research and conversations with people who
have dementia, their carers and family members. It aims to dispel
stereotypes and address common reactions to the diagnosis in order
to paint a more accurate picture of an illness that affects 800,000
people in the UK and 4,000 in Manchester alone. With over a hundred
different types of dementia - Alzheimer's and dementia with Lewy
bodies being the most common ones - it's possible to be affected by
several types. The resulting brain damage might affect thoughts,
language, memory, recognition, and sleeping patterns.
In 2011 the government implemented the National
Dementia Strategy as dementia costs the government £23 billion a
year with a rising numbers of cases. The strategy promotes the
right for people with dementia to live well and identifies three
key stages to improve their well-being: improved awareness, earlier
diagnosing and a higher quality of patient care.
Austin explained that, even if not remembered, moments of joy
played an important role in the well-being of patients and a
specially designed programme, the Butterfly Scheme, helped carers
to learn a different approach to treating dementia patients. She
added that patients often drifted into a different world, mainly
the past, as a consequence of the loss of short-term memory. An
important shift in care is trying to understand the patient's
perspective instead of employing what used to be called "reality
orientation": bringing the patient back into the here and now. "The
person is still there", said Austin, "it's just about finding them
and addressing their needs."