As professionals within the care industry, we’re driven by a common goal to share the best possible service, standards and quality for residents. This includes putting extra attention into details and care management to better fit the needs of those living with life-altering conditions. As this September is World Alzheimer’s Month, which promotes a better understanding of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s important for care home owners to recognise where their service could better fit the 70% of care home residents who are living with dementia. So, what are the best ways to cultivate person-centred dementia care within your home?
The prevalence of dementia
The number of residents who have dementia is on the rise, with 311,730 people living with dementia currently in UK care homes. This means providing your staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to enhance the quality of life of such individuals is more important than ever. Despite this – and the fact that many homes do possess the necessary infrastructure to accommodate excellent dementia care – it’s common for care staff to be uncertain, or unprepared as to how to treat residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. To provide the best possible care for a resident living with dementia, care management teams need to establish a good care plan within the first four to eight weeks in your home, encouraging better lifestyle and wellbeing choices.
How can you improve dementia care in your home?
When we work with our clients to improve their dementia care, one of the crucial areas that we focus on is preparing staff to deal with the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). BPSD can take many different forms, including:
- Sleep-wake cycle disturbance
As the symptoms can be vast and sometimes subtle, equipping your staff with the right training to help them recognise and understand residents with dementia is essential, as 90% of people living with dementia will display some form of BPSD.
Of course, classroom-based learning will play a part, but your staff also need a better understanding of what it’s like to perceive the world with dementia to deliver person-centred care to your residents. For us, the best dementia care will always be activity-based, not task-based. This could include listening to music, helping in the garden or grounds, or other creative ways to keep residents stimulated and at the centre of care.
When we work with our clients to improve their dementia care, we like to use dementia care mapping to observe whether any changes and tools that have been introduced are actually having tangible results on the quality of care. This could be measured by variables such as the use of anti-psychotics, sleep patterns of residents or how long residents living with dementia are spending outside of their room.
Individualised advice for improving your Alzheimer’s and dementia care
Every care home is unique and there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all method for improving the specialist care in your home. Of course, a great way to start is by sending your staff for training, so that workers and management teams can gain a better understanding of dementia to improve their person-centred and activity-based care systems.
Understandably, changing the culture of your care home to deliver better results for residents living with dementia or Alzheimer’s can take time and can often be quite difficult – especially if it’s vastly different to the current systems your staff are used to. As expert care consultants, we’ve helped countless care homes in this situation, helping them to improve their specialist care, residents’ quality of life and their CQC reports.