Written by Helen Sanderson, CEO HSA
The number of people experiencing dementia and future estimates based on an ageing population, has led to an increased focus from policy makers, health experts and community leaders. The Prime Minister’s ‘Dementia Challenge’ is evidence of this heightened agenda.
Whilst there are examples of personalisation in residential care for people with learning disabilities (e.g. Making it Personal for Everyone, by Steve Scown and Helen Sanderson, 2011), there have not been any examples of this in residential care for people with dementia. We formed a partnership with Stockport LA and Borough Care Ltd, to work with staff and the 43 people that live at Bruce Lodge who experience dementia, to identify how to achieve better choice and control and support staff in this new way of working.
The decision to personalise care at Bruce Lodge was driven by listening to the people that live and work there, families and partners. Through this feedback and HSA’s knowledge of effective application in other sectors, it was identified that more could be done to support people to have greater choice and control.
We have been working closely with partners, families, the staff that work at Bruce Lodge and the people that live there to introduce person-centred practices that would pesonalise the dementia support. We introduced one-page profiles for all people living and working there as well as a process by which people could be matched well together based on their common interests. All people living at Bruce Lodge now how 2 hours of personal time allocated each month where they do an activity that they choose with a person that they choose to do it with.
People are now seen, treated and supported as individuals. The one-page profiles have played a big role in people directing their own support as much as possible, and staff paying attention to what matters to each individual. People get consistent support even when lots of different staff are involved in their support, and even where people do not communicate verbally.
The individual time means that people have complete choice and control over some of their time – choosing what they do, when and where. They share this time with a staff member who shares that interest. The rota is written around this to ensure consistency. Two hours a month – it may not sound much, but people say it has made huge difference to their well-being.
We will be sharing our learning from our work at Bruce Lodge through this blog and hope to hear the experiences of others personalising support for people with dementia.