University Campus Suffolk pioneering training in dementia care

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Carers and nurses who are furthering their education at University Campus Suffolk (UCS) have learnt about the dramatic difference that home environments and sensory stimulation can have on people living with dementia.

UCS welcomed back Maizie Mears-Owen, Head of Dementia at Care UK, for her second lecture day with the students. During the morning session they gained an understanding of how lighting, colours, memory boxes and pictures can significantly help when people with dementia are experiencing confusion and disorientation. Maizie also showed students how contrasting colours and memorable signage can help.

In the afternoon Maizie introduced new and innovative techniques for palliative care.  When people with dementia enter the end stage of life they often lose the ability to speak or recognise those around them. Maizie showed how gentle sensory stimulation, such as soft music, hand massages, fragrant smells and colourful paintings can help alleviate agitation and anxiety. 

Maizie Mears-Owen, Head of Dementia for Care UK, says: “I am delighted to have been asked to return to UCS and hope these sessions help in deepening the mature students’ knowledge and understanding of dementia care.”

Rose Buckle, Deputy Manager from Ormonde Home for the Elderly in Ipswich, who took part in the lecture at UCS, said: “Hearing Maizie’s experiences and learning about her techniques has really helped me to gain an understanding of how people with dementia feel, I have so much more empathy now.”

She added: “It was also really interesting for us to look at the different environments that Care UK has set up in their care homes.”

The dementia training developed by Maizie Mears-Owen has been nominated for several awards. It is delivered to Care UK employees who work in the independent care provider’s nursing homes UK-wide and who deliver day care services. In June this year Care UK appointed a team of four specialist dementia trainers to help roll-out the programme, overseen by Maizie Mears-Owen.

Anne Johnston, Head of Division of Health within the School of Science, Technology and Health at UCS, says: “We were very pleased to welcome back Maize Mears-Owen for a further two specialist lectures on dementia care. It is a fabulous opportunity for UCS to work in partnership with Care UK so that we can provide our county’s carers with the best specialist training available.”

University Campus Suffolk offers a number of courses for those working with people with dementia and is developing further options, including an online course in ‘Dementia Care Practice’ and one in ‘Leadership in Dementia Care’.  For information please contact the course leader, Sarah Housden

There are around 9,000 people in Suffolk living with dementia and an estimated 800,000 throughout the country and more health and social care workers are needed with the specialist skills to care for people with the condition.


Photo caption: Maizie Mears-Own from Care UK and Head of Health at UCS Anne Johnston outside the university building.

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