Dementia link workers countywide forum

The second Countywide Forum for Dementia Link Workers, who have achieved the Dementia Link Worker Award in Gloucestershire, took place on 23rd November at Gloucester Guildhall.

A capacity audience of 90 people consisting of 64 Dementia Link Workers and 26 speakers, exhibition stand holders and guests, listened to a packed programme of speakers such as Dr. Christine Raber, Associate Professor in the Master of Occupational Therapy Programme at Shawnee State University, Ohio who spoke on ‘Understanding Motivation and Meaning: essential skills to engage people living with dementia’.

A moving presentation was also given by Barbara Pointon MBE, former carer, Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, Patron of Dementia UK and member of CQC Carers’ Advisory Board who spoke on ‘Supporting people with dementia and their carers throughout their journey’ in which she spoke about her experiences of caring for her husband Malcolm since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 51 until his death in 2007.
Other speakers included David Francis, Policy Implementation Project Manager for Dementia, quality and carers, Department Of Health South West who described why Gloucestershire Dementia Link Workers are so important to the South West Strategy and also a group of Dementia Link Workers who provided a well received presentation which explored the experiences and emotional turmoil of a person living with dementia.

The aim of the Dementia Link Worker role is to promote best practice for dementia care by passing on the skills and knowledge that they have gained through their specialised training to their peer group within their own workplace. They use on-site dementia learning resources which have been specifically developed within the Gloucestershire dementia training strategy to develop other staff members.

So far 157 Dementia Link Workers have achieved the Dementia Link Worker Award and 124 are in training. The Dementia Link Workers were initially developed within Gloucestershire care homes but latterly more are being trained within the Domiciliary Care and Community Hospitals workforces.