Best practice celebrated at Dementia Utopia conference

Elaine Farrer, Colten Care Operations Director; Rick Otten, Colten Care Co-Chairman; Admiral Nurse Kay Gibson; Dementia UK’s Rachel Johnstone; and Mark Aitchison, Colten Care Chief Executive

Team members from five family-owned care homes in Dorset and Hampshire have shared their latest insights on how people with dementia can be helped to live well.

Colten Care’s third annual Dementia Utopia conference brought more than 80 colleagues together at the AFC Bournemouth stadium to discuss and celebrate best practice, new approaches and success stories.

Admiral Nurse Kay Gibson, who leads Colten Care’s dementia strategy, said: “We have ensured that basic dementia care awareness is available to all staff, whatever their role, so they are better able to understand the needs of people and families living with dementia.

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“It is truly a ‘whole team’ approach. At the same time, we are giving more dedicated input and advanced training to relevant colleagues in our specialist dementia care settings. It’s all about nurturing innovation in relationship-centred approaches to care. My role is also to reach out to the wider community with resources and information.”

In her presentation, Kay explained how new approaches in the homes had already helped to cut the use of anti-psychotic medication by more than a third.

At the same time, more Colten Care staff – currently 1,537 people or 83% of the entire workforce – have attended information sessions and become ‘Dementia Friends’.

Insights included how residents responded to joining gardening clubs for ‘horticultural therapy’, how ‘rummage boxes’ containing different items can prompt reminiscence and conversation, and how a residents’ choir was fostering enjoyment and interaction.

New approaches to assessing nutritional needs and the dining experience were also discussed. Another cognitive breakthrough featured was a ‘magic table’ developed in The Netherlands that uses gentle projected lights to prompt people’s movement, sensations and relaxation.

Colten Care’s Operations Director Elaine Farrer said: “The presentations from the five homes showed how our team members go above and beyond every single day ensuring each of our residents receives a positive, individual approach to their care.”

Conference delegates watched a short film featuring two residents, Joyce and Gwen, discussing their care. To view the film, visit: https://youtu.be/wNQHDGLrQko.  

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