May madness

It feels like I say this quite often, but as the Association for Dementia Studies is doing a lot at the moment, we thought it would be useful to take stock and draw breath in this week’s blog. Here’s an overview of what’s going on.

Education and training

Our PGCert students have recently submitted their final assignments so our lecturers are busy marking. Before we know it, we’ll be welcoming a new cohort of students on our September modules! If you would like to be one of them, please have a look at our website or watch our new short video. A reminder to current and former students – you are eligible for the Hennell Award so why not apply!?

The next cohort of the 5-week Meeting Centre online training starts later this month, and this time is being facilitated by Kirrie Connections. If this is too short notice, don’t worry, we’ll be running another cohort in July. Have a look at our website for full details and how to register for either course. We’re also working on developing Meeting Centre training for other audiences, so keep an eye open for further updates.

Conferences and events

In Dementia Action Week we’ve got information stands at the Leominster Dementia Conference and The Worcester Dementia Action Alliance Awareness Event (both on 16th May), as well as running a dementia awareness and information session for staff here at the University of Worcester on 17th May supported by having a stand in the St John’s campus reception area.

We’ll also be at the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference in London on 18th May, presenting at the Cornwall Dementia Conference down in Newquay on 19th May and presenting at the 23rd International Conference on Integrated Care in Belgium later in the month. Busy times!

We’re also planning our Get Real event to launch and share the findings. Although it’s not until 12th July, our plans are well underway, and if you would like to attend you can register here. As part of the event we’ll also be displaying our Meeting Centres family blanket so don’t forget to send in your squares!

If that wasn’t enough, we’ll be writing abstracts to submit to various conferences such as UK Dementia Congress later in the year to share findings from a whole host of our research projects.

Research and consultancy

We’ve got several research projects underway at various stages, so we’ll be working on these as well as writing articles for recently completed projects. Bid writing is also taking place with several bids taking shape quite nicely (fingers crossed!).

A work in progress is the development of an app version of the environmental assessment tools. The app is not quite at the point of being made available, but it’s not far away – watch this space.

We’re also working on a series of short videos relating to Meeting Centre data collection, both to help Meeting Centre staff understand what’s involved but also to help explain it to members and carers and encourage them to get involved. It’s another ‘coming soon’ situation, but hopefully the videos will be helpful to everyone.

Phew! Same again next month?

A period of change

As usual, there’s a lot going on within the Association for Dementia Studies at the moment, so to help you (and us!) keep track here’s a brief update.

Coming to an end

We’ve got a few projects due to finish in the next couple of months, such as:

  • The Herefordshire Dementia Voices (HDV) evaluation, which is looking at the extent to which the HDV project met its intended outcomes of finding and hearing the voices of people affected by dementia. If you’d like to share your views on this project, you don’t have long – our online survey closes very soon so don’t miss out!
  • Worcester Life Stories, which comprises two online platforms (Know Your Place and Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire) has been the subject of a few previous blogs, and again you don’t have much time to share your views and feedback with us using the following surveys.
  • The Get Real with Meeting Centres project is in its final phase of pulling all of our findings together and working out how to present and share them with different audiences. We’re consulting with various stakeholders to make sure we get it right, and have some exciting plans for creating both booklets and videos to explore different ways of making our findings accessible.
  • The ‘Embed’ phase of our Meeting Centres work is due to end soon, but have no fear! We’ll be continuing to work on Meeting Centres, primarily focusing on keeping our existing Meeting Centre network going and continuing to support new Meeting Centres to get up and running.
  • The DemECH project which has been looking at Supporting People Living with Dementia In Extra Care Housing is in the reporting phase, and we hope to be able to share the outputs with you in the near future.

Beyond research, our September cohort of students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies has recently submitted their final assignments, so best of luck to everyone!

Continue reading “A period of change”

Designing for Everyone

A suite of environmental assessment tools for health centres (also known as primary care centres/GP premises) has just been launched. These tools have been written by the Association for Dementia Studies for Assura plc who design, build and lease health centres across the UK.

Assura wanted to ensure that their health centres were supportive to people living with dementia, learning disability, autism and neurodiversity. It is thought that this is the first time work has been undertaken to look at the design features that are important to all these groups. The Patients Association and Dimensions, a charity that support people with learning disabilities and autism, provided reports on patients’ views of the health centre environment which for the first time confirmed how important the environment was to the patient experience and the delivery of high quality patient care.

We found through reviews of the literature and best practice that despite the vast majority of patient contacts in the NHS taking place in health centres – at least in normal ‘non-Covid’ circumstances – little work has been undertaken to look at the design of these premises for patients including people living with dementia and other neurodiverse conditions.

Continue reading Designing for Everyone

Is your garden dementia friendly?

The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn particular attention to the need for better use of outdoor spaces by everyone. Last Autumn the Association for Dementia Studies launched an environmental assessment tool for gardens which has proved a very popular addition to our suite of assessment tools. As part of this work we have now launched Making your garden dementia-friendly a free resource for people living at home with dementia, their carers and families. 

The front cover of the booklet, showing the title, a photo of a tree in a garden, and a green stripe down the right side
Continue reading “Is your garden dementia friendly?”

Getting ready for the academic year

With August rapidly disappearing, we’re putting the finishing touches to our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies modules which will be running from September. They’ve all run before, so it’s mainly a case of making a few tweaks based on student feedback and adding in any new information to keep them current. It’s not too late to enrol if you’re interested in studying with us (or get ahead of the game and get sorted early for a January start!), and don’t forget you can sign up for a single module before making a decision about whether to do the full Postgraduate Certificate. So what can you study?

Starting in September

  • MDEM4001 Person-Centred Leadership: The VIPS Approach – Nicola Jacobson-Wright will be leading this module, and this is the mandatory module if you’re doing the full PGCert. On this module Nicola will be focusing on the development of the students’ leadership skills to critically analyse service provision for people living with dementia from the perspective of the person living with dementia, and how they can lead services to work better from this perspective.
  • MDEM4004 Supporting People Living with Advanced Dementia – On this module, Mary Bruce will be encouraging students to consider the important aspects of care planning and approaches to support relevant to the care of people living with advanced dementia. Students will consider the utility of identifying and defining advanced dementia and consider the ways in which this impacts upon the person, their family, health and social care professionals and other agencies delivering support.
  • MDEM4005 Enabling Environments for People Living with Dementia – Led by Teresa Atkinson, this module will help students understand how opportunities and constraints in any given environment can impact on people with dementia is important to supporting well-being and the citizenship of people living with dementia regardless of where they reside. This module examines the creation of dementia friendly communities, enabling environments in the home and health care settings, as well as the contribution of the person-environment fit to well-being, autonomy and preservation of self and identity.
Continue reading “Getting ready for the academic year”

Did you see…?

We try to have a new blog post every week, but realise that it can be easy for some posts to be missed when life is busy or we’re caught up with work. Every now and again we like to take stock and do a quick recap of a few posts to give them a second chance to be seen. Here are the ones we’ve chosen this time:

  • How to use the environmental assessment tools – If you’ve seen us talking about the different environmental assessment tools we’ve got, but aren’t quite sure how to use them in practice, this is a good blog to look at. Don’t forget though, that since this blog post was written we’ve now got the garden assessment tool as well.
  • A roundup of the CHARM research projects – As part of the CHARM project multiple different research projects were carried out in care homes, and this handy blog post brings them all together in one post so you can see what went on. There’s also a link to the CHARM framework manual which you may find useful to have a copy of.
  • Finding out what people value about Meeting Centres – We’ve currently got a survey open for family members and carers of people with dementia who attend Meeting Centres to help us find out what is important to them. Information about the survey and a link to complete it can be found in this blog post.
  • Introducing CAMBUS – An initiative that started recently was the ‘Coffee and Memory Bus’ which is acting as a form of outreach for people with memory concerns in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. This blog post tells you more about what they offer and has a link to the website where you can find out where they’re going to be on what days.
  • 12 resources you should know about – In the run-up to Christmas (that feels like ages ago!) we told you about a different resource every day on social media then brought them together in one blog post. A handy one to look at if you need a quick reminder of the resources we’ve been involved with. You might even find ones that you didn’t realise existed but are really useful for what you’re doing.

So if you missed any of these the first time round please do take a look, or maybe you just want to remind yourself what they were about.

Don’t forget, you can look through all of our old blog posts by scrolling down, or by clicking on one of the ‘categories’ to the right of the page to see all posts about different topics.

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

12 resources you should know about

Before Christmas, instead of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ we thought we’d tell everyone about a different resource each day. This was done on both our Twitter (@DementiaStudies) and Facebook (@adsuow) accounts, but in case you missed it or you’re not on social media we’ve pulled it all together here. We also think the resources are worth shouting about, so we make no apology for trying to let everyone know about them!

Resource 1

First off, the CHARM Manual, our newest resource. A FREE interactive, downloadable, step-by-step manual for conducting research in care homes. You can get a copy here.

Resource 2

Our second resource to bring to your attention is the gardens assessment tool ‘Is your garden dementia friendly?’ It’s the latest in the suite of assessment tools and you can download it for free via our website.

Continue reading “12 resources you should know about”

Reaching the right people

When we conduct research that involves input from or sharing information with people affected by dementia, we often have a target audience that we engage with such as people living in a care home, or people who go to a specific group or use a particular service. One issue that we’ve been encountering during the pandemic is how to reach people more generally, especially when we haven’t got a route to access them.

For example, the number of Meeting Centres in Worcestershire has been increasing thanks to the Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme, but how can we raise the profile of the new Meeting Centres to let people know that they are open? It’s not just the people affected by dementia who may wish to attend the Meeting Centres but also the professionals who could potentially refer people to the Meeting Centres. While each Meeting Centre can do its own local promotion, it’s useful for us to help provide information about the overall picture in Worcestershire. Letting people know about the Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme in the first place has also been a challenge, as we don’t necessarily know who might be interested in applying!

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Update from our ‘Enabling Environments’ module

This week’s blog comes from Teresa Atkinson, giving an early update from the Postgraduate module she leads on ‘Enabling environments for people with dementia’. Over to Teresa:

We have just welcomed 14 students onto our module. In these early days it’s great to get together in the Collaborate Seminars to find out more about each other and make new connections. This is a fully online module, so the Collaborate Seminars are where we meet ‘face to face’ every fortnight. 

So, what sort of things do we get up to on our module? Well, I thought I would give you a little peep into what our students have been doing.

Continue reading “Update from our ‘Enabling Environments’ module”

Is your garden dementia friendly?

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve just released a new environmental assessment tool, ‘Is your garden dementia friendly? An Environmental Assessment Tool for Health and Care Settings’. As with our existing environmental assessment tools it’s free to download from our website, but we thought we’d use this blog to give a bit of background to the tool.

The front cover of the tool
Continue reading “Is your garden dementia friendly?”