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It’s an exciting time for dementia care, with extensive research projects leading to real-life changes being implemented across homes in the UK, improving the quality of life for hundreds of service users. To explore these latest approaches to delivering care, we proudly hosted a day of seminars and networking for care professionals, commissioners, council officials and academics from across the industry at Horizon Leeds.
Dementia is a disorder that affects many of our residents and it felt fitting that we hosted the seminar in the city ahead of the opening later this year of our new Leeds home, Copperfields, a specialist nursing care home for adults living with mental health conditions and complex dementia.
We were delighted to welcome Claire Surr, Professor & Director of the Centre for Dementia Research at Leeds Beckett University, as our opening speaker. In her talk, Claire outlined how far academic research had come since her first days as the only dementia researcher at the university to heading up an interdisciplinary research centre across multiple departments. The university is focused on identifying effective and cost-effective approaches, in an effort to improve the quality of care for service users across the UK. Claire shared fascinating insights from recent research into Dementia Care Mapping (DCM), training frameworks and the success of sports memory groups. In a talk that detailed the results of multiple large-scale audits, Claire also highlighted the importance of face-to-face training for care professionals, citing widespread positive feedback for short and frequent sessions.
Following on from Claire’s talk on research, Mark Henry, Head of Behavioural Support and Mental Health services at Exemplar, explained how we are approaching training and integrated care. Our behavioural support team has been providing innovative training throughout our homes, with an emphasis on providing on the ground support wherever possible. Mark also shared some of our unique areas of expertise, such as transport solutions for service users with challenging behaviour and establishing a point of mental health training for staff in every home.
Dr Ben Akande, our Consultant Psychogeriatrician and Medical Director of John Munroe Group followed on from Mark and gave an enthralling talk on the psychologist role within our business. He shared insightful examples of his previous work and engaged the audience with communications exercises. His seminar discussed how we define “challenging behaviour” and the importance of FRAME in understanding how to identify service user needs.
FRAME is the neuro-linguistics model used to improve methods of communications, used to establish an empathetic understanding of a separate world view. This is achieved by studying the interaction of verbal and behavioural displays in connection to intentions of what is being expressed – e.g. does a service user’s linguistic communication contradict traits in their usual behaviour? Dr Akande also shared some insightful anecdotes from his career so far in care, including the effects of postprandial hypotension as well as expressive dysphasia and receptive dysphasia.
To round off the seminar, Exemplar’s Business Development Manager, Kelly Hodgson, shared an update on the development of the Copperfield home in Leeds. The 30-bed care home for adults with complex needs is on track for opening in September 2019.