The recent Dementia Care Conference was organised by a fellow member of the Devon Care Kite Mark (DCKM https://dckm.co.uk/). If you haven’t heard of the DCKM then it’s a group of care homes based in Devon supporting each other to provide excellent care. It currently represents 60 homes offering regular training, master classes, and get together in order to share best practice. Another of the hugely beneficial elements is peer reviews. Owners and managers visit another home offering an independent opinion on an agreed topic. This critical friend reviewing is an invaluable part of our audit system as we strive to provide the best care.
The conference was open to both health/social care professionals as well members of the public. Each of our staff who attended found the day extremely beneficial. Interestingly but not surprisingly each had a different key point as their take away message. This holds true with something head of Care Quality Commission (CQC) Andrea Sutcliffe said “if you’ve met one person with dementia you’ve met one person”. You can’t assume to know someone’s life, how they wish to be cared for, or what their highlight of a conference will be without asking.
I’ve read Andrea Sutcliffe’s blogs, as head of CQC she is an important leader having an impact on our daily operation of our homes. As a speaker she engaged and held her audience and did, in my opinion, come across as being passionate about raising standards.
Andrea has frequently shared a picture of her mother stating the importance of the mum test “ask yourself if it’s good enough for your mum or someone you care deeply for”. This is a simple but excellent test and one all our staff can keep in mind as they go about this day.
Andrea spoke about the importance of seeing the person not the diagnosis that we have to help people live life to the full and thus enabling people to have a meaningful life. The other speakers also supported the absolute importance of life history. This history is crucial to allow homes to provide the personalised care everyone deserves, and help residents achieve a meaningful life. Mark from Home Instead a domiciliary provider spoke about a gentleman who was refusing morning showers. When they learnt more about his life history and previous routines they learnt that he always returned home from work on a certain train, poured himself a gin and then had a bath. When the agency changed the care to match this pattern he was extremely happy to have a bath. Read our previous blog on reminiscing: https://peninsulacarehomes.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/the-importance-of-reminiscing/
So for me the conference was a beneficial day with many key messages and tips to help us improve our service. A quote Andrea shared in her closing speech which we should all embrace was “see every single person as an individual. It is our privilege to support them to live their life with as much happiness, love and security as we can give them”