Cumberland staff have completed a ground-breaking training programme which challenges perceptions of dementia and which dramatically increases wellbeing among residents.
They took part in the experiential training programme, developed by Care UK, which gives direct experience of the dramatic effects which dementia and frailty can have on the senses.
Special glasses blurred their vision, headphones delivered continuous white noise and gloves restricted their finger movement. Trainees also found themselves being fed food they could not see, drank tea from plastic training beakers and were asked several questions in quick succession without enough time to think of replies.
The training was originally piloted across Surrey in nine Care UK specialist dementia homes and the Orchard Centre, a 24/7 day centre in Epsom. It showed staff how people with dementia experience the world and what they can do to make each resident’s life more comfortable and fulfilling.
The pilot results were extraordinary. There was a 42 per cent increase in wellbeing among residents, based on increased mobility, social interaction, alertness and improved sleeping patterns and a dramatic reduction in the need for anti-psychotic drugs.
Elaine Robson, the home’s manager, said: “All our staff, including the maintenance team, kitchen staff and administrators, took part because everyone is vital to making our residents feel that this is their home, a place where they are understood and their needs are paramount.”