Caring for People living with Dementia
At Greensleeves Care, we offer person-centred care and support that is focused on the individual needs of each and every resident. To do this, we build firm foundations with selective recruitment and training of our staff, we create a dementia friendly culture within our homes and we encourage each home to deliver a dementia service that is truly dedicated to each resident.
Recruitment and Training
We ensure that we employ staff with the right outlook, approach and commitment to excellent dementia care. Our recruitment process includes a review of each applicant’s values and behaviours. Typical behaviours and values we are looking for include compassion, integrity, respect, imagination and commitment.
Once recruited we are committed to training staff well to meet the needs of residents living with dementia. One very effective tool is the Virtual Dementia Tour. This is an interactive training experience that improves communication and care by better enabling staff to understand the needs and behaviours of residents. During the tour, staff are fitted with devices that alter the senses and simulate the physical and mental challenges facing those living with dementia.
Greensleeves Care is a member of several specialist bodies which support organisations working with people living with dementia. One of these is Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, which aims to give people a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia.
We have introduced a dementia friendly culture in all our care homes. Following an induction which gives staff greater understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, our employees become accredited Dementia Friends. We already have 700 dementia friends in the Trust, including the Trustees and senior management.
The care we provide to residents is underpinned by the Five Core Needs identified by Dr Tom Kitwood. Dr Kitwood is credited with formulating the ‘person-centred approach’ which he developed in the late 1980s, suggesting that people with dementia, like all people, have five psychological needs:
- Comfort – We all need to feel comfort. We need to be warm, dry and clean; to have enough food to eat and not to be thirsty; to enjoy quiet moments when we want them.
- Attachment – We need to feel attached to another person or to a group. We all need to feel cared for and be able to care for others.
- Inclusion – We want to feel we are part of something, to belong to a group, to feel not left out.
- Occupation – We want to be occupied, to have something to do but also to help others, to be occupied with activity that has meaning and purpose.
- Identity – We need to have others know who ‘I am’ and our histories. We want to be individuals and want our individuality to be recognised in our food preferences, our clothing, our activities and recreation.
Our approach to dementia care fits with the principles of the Eden Alternative – which is the philosophy of care that underpins all we do in our care homes. The Eden Alternative demonstrates how true companionship, the opportunity to give meaningful care to others, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail.
It is an antidote to loneliness, helplessness and boredom, replacing them with companionship, giving and receiving care, and spontaneity and variety.
For more information about Eden Alternative, please click here