LONDON, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Giving staff a taste of what it feels like to have dementia is part of Care UK's latest drive to improve its offering as a high quality provider of care homes for frail, older people.
A pilot project at a day centre and nine dementia care homes in Surrey has delivered remarkable results which will be rolled out across the UK.
This new way of training care home staff gives them direct experience of what it is like to be frail and have dementia. Confusing things happen to them; special glasses blur vision, headphones deliver white noise, and bandages restrict hand movements. Trainees are spoon-fed with food they cannot see, or asked questions without being given enough time to reply.
This training was developed by Care UK employee Maizie Mears-Owen, who is a registered mental health nurse, a qualified drama therapist, and has personal passion for improving dementia care. It leads to an experience that delivers a powerful, long lasting message and truly changes people's behaviours.
Care UK's managing director for residential care Helen Owens said: "The training makes staff far more aware of how their approach and attitude can have an impact on a person with dementia, showing the difference between good care and really excellent care."
There has also been a fresh new look at the impact of a home's environment on the behaviour and well-being of residents.
Helen continued: "My team, with help from the University of Stirling, discovered that as long as colours are contrasting, they don't have to be garish in order for residents to orientate themselves. So we've created something that looks like a family home, rather than a kindergarten, but still considers the needs of residents with dementia."
Care UK made other changes that help residents with dementia to feel more at home, including:
- Introducing fireplaces into lounges to more closely reflect family homes. - Making dining rooms smaller and separate from lounge areas so people have a sense of meal times. - Introducing 'old-style' telephones or retro ornaments that residents recognise from their younger days.
Initial findings were warmly welcomed by residents and their families. After reviewing the pilot, Care UK will take the best outcomes to its other homes across the country. Environmental changes will be incorporated into plans for 30 new homes that the company expects to build over the next five years.
SOURCE Care UK