Our Dementia Carer team review activities over 2017 for our annual report.
The last year has been a particularly busy time for Dementia Carer Voices, having now engaged with over 90,000 people over the course of 650 talks. Dementia Carer Voices’ You Can Make a Difference campaign has to date collected over 16,000 pledges from health and social care professionals, students, and members of the public who are committed to making a difference to people with dementia and their carers. As part of this work the project has helped launch pledge trees in colleges, universities, hospitals, and care homes up and down the country promoting value based reflective practice and culture change.
In partnership with the Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland (CNO Scotland), Fiona McQueen, the project has engaged with Health Board directors to arrange engagement work in their area. Dementia Carer Voices has undertaken a five-day tour of the Western Isles working with NHS Western Isles, has returned to encourage further reflection on the pledges from the initial visit and a further visit is planned to deepen the engagement work in the beginning of 2018. Dementia Carer Voices is also working with NHS Lanarkshire – including sessions at all new staff inductions, NHS Dumfries, and Galloway and NHS Glasgow to develop similar engagement work with their Health Boards. In partnership with CNO Scotland, the project has spoken to all first-year nursing students across Scottish universities and colleges to embed the ‘Five Must do with me’ commitments within the nursing study and career path from the beginning. As part of this work UK Lead Tommy Whitelaw created a film with NHS 24 to encourage value based reflective practice among their staff and service users.
Dementia Carer Voices launched its flagship publication – Dementia Carer Voices: Rights and the Carer Voice – during a week of events and activity at the Scottish Parliament. With a stand at Parliament Dementia Carer Voices engaged with MSPs bringing the story of the 15,000 health and social care staff and students the project has spoken to to Parliament. A Member’s Business debate tabled by James Kelly MSP built on the work of the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and Their Carers first debated in Parliament in 2009 and linked it to the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices programme. The publication was launched at another event in the Scottish Parliament attended by MSPs, people with dementia and their carers, nurses, care staff and policy professionals. The publication itself was the result of partnership work between Dementia Carer Voices and NHS NSS performing statistical analysis on 6,000 of the 15,000 pledges the project has received to date. The findings revolved around the importance of moving away from a time and task oriented care and emphasising care and compassion in health and social care services.
Dementia Carer Voices has reached out across the UK and Europe. For example, the project was invited onto the Movie Memories Steering Group, which provides people with dementia with opportunities to engage with their local community. Dementia Carer Voices sits on ‘What Matters to You? Day’ Steering Group and interviewed the Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison about what matters to her to mark the day and encourage person centred care. The project works with partners across Europe, through Director, Irene Oldfather’s role as Third Sector representative to the EESC, to influence the policy agenda and ensure people with dementia have a central role in a post-Brexit world.