Brighton students are urging families to join them to take part in a ground-breaking and award-winning dementia care project.
The project is called Time for Dementia. The organisers pair families affected by dementia with undergraduate students studying healthcare.
The aim is to help the student to gain a better understanding of living with dementia and develop skills to provide better care for patients and their families.
The project was celebrated at Sussex University on Wednesday (31 May) when more than 320 health students joined 90 families affected by dementia.
Professor Sube Banerjee, director of the Centre for Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who leads the project, said: “Until now, while we’ve made huge strides in areas of medicine such as treatment for cancer, there has been little focus on improving care for long-term conditions such as dementia.
“Time for Dementia is helping healthcare students to understand what it is really like to live with a long-term health condition by building up a relationship with a family with dementia over two years.
From this, students learn to develop compassion and understanding of long-term conditions and are better equipped for their future careers as health professionals, ultimately leading to better care for people with dementia and their families.”
“The feedback from families and students has been really positive, and the positive story that we are telling is really getting through: that we can enable the healthcare professionals of the future to be better at understanding and empathising with people with dementia and their families than the doctors and nurses we have now.”
Families taking part in the project are visited by a pair of students three to four times a year over a period of two years.
The programme aims to improve student knowledge, attitudes and empathy towards people with dementia and their care-givers, leading to better future care.
The programme has been running with nursing and paramedic students at BSMS and at Surrey University since 2014.
BSMS said: “As a result of its early success, it will be rolled out throughout Kent, Surrey and Sussex on a much larger scale over the next five years.
“Forming part of the training for nursing, occupational therapy, paramedic science, physiotherapy, radiography and speech and language therapy students at the universities of Brighton, Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church, it is expected to reach a further 1,600 students over the next five years.”
“This is the first UK programme, and the first worldwide to form a mandatory component of health professional training across a range of disciplines.
“The programme has already won the Best Dementia Training Initiative Award at the 7th National Dementia Care Awards 2016 and the Laing Buisson Award for Excellence in Training.
If you would like to know more about the programme, or if you know a family who would like to take part, please contact...
Dr Stephanie Daley at: email@example.com
or Lauren Merrison at the Alzheimer’s Society at : firstname.lastname@example.org,
on 07713 779582, or via Join Dementia Research at https://www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/
Find out more about other ongoing dementia research programmes that also need volunteers at:https://www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk