Care UK has announced the appointment of Maizie Mears-Owen as the organisation’s first Head of Dementia Care.
Since joining the company in 2008 as a service development manager, Maizie has contributed to the development of Care UK’s dementia strategy by creating an experiential training programme aimed at all colleagues working with Care UK’s residential care division.
During the training, staff are given direct experience of the dramatic effect that dementia and frailty can have on the senses; special glasses blur their vision, headphones deliver white noise, and gloves restrict the movement of fingers. Trainees find themselves being fed food that they cannot see, drinking tea from plastic training beakers and being asked several questions in quick succession without enough time to think of replies.
The training was piloted in Care UK services across Surrey with excellent results. Wellbeing, (based on mood, engagement, levels of interaction with other residents and staff, mobility and sleeping patterns), was measured before and after the trial and was found to have increased by 42 per cent during the trials.
In her new role, Maizie will be responsible for the continued development internally of Care UK’s approach to the care and support of people with dementia in its 85 homes across the whole country. Maizie will also be representing Care UK externally as the company seeks to maintain dementia care at the top of the Government’s agenda in terms of funding, care quality and innovation.
Richard Pearman, Care UK’s Business Development Director, said: “Care UK is deeply committed to developing excellent services that support people with dementia.”
“We are now appointing specialist trainers who will work with Maizie to help roll-out the highly effective experiential training. I look forward to the continued development of our dementia care services and wish Maizie well in her new role.”
Maizie is a fully qualified mental health nurse and has managed residential homes for older people in both the public and private sector. She is also a trained drama therapist and has a life-long interest in finding ways of communicating with people in a residential setting who may find it hard to express what they are feeling.
Maizie said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be offered this role. I really feel it demonstrates that Care UK is determined to develop even better care for people living with dementia in our homes.”