Dementia Action Week is always an important time for raising awareness of dementia and promoting actions to support the well-being of people living with dementia. At the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies, this is not just our goal during Dementia Action Week but is our goal every week of the year as we continue to be leaders in the field of dementia care; constantly striving to make positive changes to dementia care practices through our research, education and training.
During his time at the University of Bradford in the 1980s and 1990s, Professor Tom Kitwood successfully raised awareness of person-centred dementia care and the need to see the person first… dementia second. However, he did not stop at raising awareness. Kitwood was responsible for collaborating with his colleagues, in particular Dr Kathleen Bredin to, amongst other things, develop Dementia Care Mapping; a practice development tool which has been extensively used over the past 30 years to internationally prompt action to improve the quality of care for people living with dementia in care homes, hospitals and day services.
This week, during Dementia Action Week 2019, we have been delivering a Dementia Care Mapping training course in Bradford, continuing Kitwood’s legacy to realise practice change. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside a wonderful group of individuals who are keen to join us in our goal to reflect on current care practices and put plans into action to improve people’s lives. We have attendees joining us from across the UK and have also welcomed an international delegate from Switzerland.
During the course, delegates have learned how to use empathy and observational skills to recognise and reflect on the day to day experiences of people living with dementia and use this knowledge to empower staff teams to critically reflect on their current practice in order to improve care quality through a process of practice change. The tool they have learned to use has been adapted over the years in response to the experiences and expertise of practitioners, researchers and academics and to ensure it fits with modern care practices. However, the person-centred value base that Tom Kitwood initially promoted more than 30 years ago remains fundamental to learning about and using Dementia Care Mapping.
As a new group of Mappers prepare to take their learning back to practice, Kitwood’s legacy of seeing the person first and taking action to improve quality of care will continue.
For more information about Dementia Care Mapping, see our website: https://www.brad.ac.uk/dementia/dcm/
Written by Lindsey Collins,