Person-Centred Training

As part of their on going training our Hospital Wellbeing and Hospital Mealtime volunteers are being given the chance to undertake the ‘Person – Centred’ training on Dementia, Delirium and Depression that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provide to NHS staff and those working in the care field.

Myself, Pam (project assistant) and Observation Volunteers Tina, Dawn, Lorraine and Dorothy went on the training at the start of the project and were immensely impressed. See blog post ‘February Milestones’ for the amazing You Tube clip ‘The Power of Music – Henry Wakes Up!’  which brings a tear to the eye. For me the words of Christine Bryden a dementia sufferer struck a lasting  cord.

‘My stress tolerance is very low, even a minor disruption can cause a catastrophic reaction. I need calm no surprises, no sudden changes. Anxiety is an undercurrent of the disease and it often feels like something terrible is going to happen’ (Christine Bryden 2005)

Christine BrydenTokyo 2012

I would recommend anyone interested in finding out more about dementia check out the following:

a)      Professor Tom Kirkwood – a pioneer in the field of dementia care who challenged the ‘old culture of care’ and aimed to understand what care is like from the view-point of the person with dementia and what their fundamental needs are. He introduced the concept of ‘person hood’ which we now term ‘person centred’ care i.e. accepting and valuing people with dementia with as individuals, with their own unique history.   He developed Dementia Care Mapping an observational method for evaluating the quality of care given to people with dementia. His book Dementia Reconsidered: the person comes first (1997) details his work.

b) Dancing with Dementia. My story of living positively with dementia Christine Bryden

c)  Stirling University’s work on dementia friendly environments and the University of  Bradford work on Dementia Care Mapping

d) Tippa Snow  an American Occupational Therapist working in dementia care in an specialist educational role

As part of our partnership with the NHS Shared Purpose project,  joint learning was high on the agenda so naturally gaining this training for all our volunteers and project staff alongside ward staff was of benefit to all. To date 6 further volunteers (both Mealtime and Wellbeing) and Carole (volunteer co-ordinator) have taken advantage of the training.

Luiza one of the Wellbeing volunteers from Wansbeck General Hospital wrote:

‘It was intense, worthwhile attending, and it reinforced some of the key values one needs to maintain when working with vulnerable patients’


Anne one of the Mealtime volunteers from North Tyneside found the training very useful and positive. Staff from different wards (without volunteers) were really interested in what herself and fellow volunteer Jean had to say and were very complementary and possibly  a little jealous!

Malcolm one of the North Tyneside Hospital Mealtime and Wellbeing volunteers told me how powerful the DVD of a lady going into hospital was as everyone took for granted that she understood everything that was going on. Malcolm found being involved with clinical staff and understanding their viewpoint plus being able to share his experiences of working in dementia day care was enlightening as some attendees had little knowledge of how activities such as knitting, listening to music and reminiscence books/activities can have a calming and comforting influence. He said as a volunteer it meant a great to deal to him to get the level of praise he did for making a difference to patients from the ward staff especially  Lynne Gould the NHS lecturer.

Malcolm Rendles - volunteer

A big thank you goes to Lynne Gould and Aileen Beatty for the training and congratulations to all the Specialist Behaviour Support team as they have recently won the Nursing Times Awards 2013 for their work in the community supporting people living with dementia. Follow the link for more information

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