EXCLUSIVE: Mapping your dementia care

Julie Rayner at Hallmark’s Together dementia care strategy launch with (l-r) June Hennell MBE, Dementia Strategy Consultant David Moore and Hallmark Managing Director Avnish Goyal

We take a look at how Susan Goldsmith of The Care Home Coach has helped take Hallmark Care Homes’ together dementia strategy to the next level through the use of Dementia Care Mapping (DCM).

The Care Home Coach team provide a range of transformational coaching and consultancy services, specifically to the elderly care home sector.

Having launched Hallmark’s dementia strategy in September 2017, Director of Care Quality Julie Rayner wanted to be able to understand the difference it was making to people’s lives.

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“We needed something that would give us a benchmark of where our homes were in terms of providing quality dementia care,” Julie told CHP.

“We wanted something that gave us some insight into what good practices were already happening in our homes, as well as areas that we can develop and grow alongside the implementation of our dementia strategy.”

Julie called in DCM specialist Susan Goldsmith for a six-week programme that would observe dementia care practices through the experiences of residents at 11 Hallmark homes.

“One of the great values was having someone external coming in with a fresh pair of eyes to observe the care being delivered in our homes,” Julie noted.

“As an observational tool DCM gives you qualitative and quantifiable information. It’s quite unique in generating a wellness indicator score for the specific residents that you are observing. It is an extremely valuable tool in order to understand how people living with dementia are being supported and what effect that support is having on their wellness.”

Julie and Sue agreed to carry out observational work in a six-hour slot from 10am to 4pm to track residents’ dining experiences and changes in mood and behaviour over the day.

Having completed her observations, Sue provided feedback on areas of good practice and areas where additional training was required to key Hallmark staff.

This feedback, which will be used to develop actions plans, was then relayed back to team members.

“Our team have really enjoyed the project,” Julie said.

“They found the verbal feedback from Sue incredibly helpful. They felt Sue as an observer was very supportive. They are all signed up to our dementia strategy so I am sure they will be taking on Sue’s suggestions. I think it’s going to be incredibly useful.”

Julie and a member of her team are to take up DCM training in the coming weeks in order to repeat the exercise in 12 months so that progress can be measured.

As Director of Care Quality & Dementia at The Care Home Coach, Sue has made it her mission to develop dementia strategies and improve dementia care at providers across the country.

Sue, who developed her DCM expertise while working within the central dementia team at Four Seasons between 2009 and 2015, is already in talks with another care home provider about helping them define their dementia strategy and incorporating DCM as part of the process.

“We have come a long way since the early 1990s when care homes and dementia care were that forgotten Cinderella service,” Sue said.

“There’s such a focus at national level on improving standards of care. If I as one person can help to make a difference then I feel I will be continuing to do a good job.”

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