We recently launched a revised version of our Corporate Strategy, in which we reinforce our commitment to developing and sharing sector-leading knowledge and skills in practice areas important to us. One of these areas is dementia.
The Dementia Special Interest Group (DSIG) was set up a number of years ago as a way to respond to the challenge posed by the changing needs of an ageing population. The group brings together staff and people who use our services from across MacIntyre who are supporting people who have dementia or are at risk of developing dementia, to share best practice, provide peer support and find out about what is happening across the country.
At the last meeting, a number of guests joined the group: Beth Britton, a leading freelance campaigner, consultant, writer and blogger who specialises in dementia and is a key partner in the MacIntyre Dementia Project, Jo Allmond and Jess Hiles, co-authors of the Jess the Goth Fairy book series, and Suzy Webster, an Expert by Experience (inset photo).
The variety of practices, activities and events relating to dementia that happen across MacIntyre was clearly demonstrated through the volume and range of topics on the agenda for the session. The group discussed the growing popularity of the Community Memory Cafés, currently held in both Milton Keynes and Warrington; the Dementia Club, which is held fortnightly in Shropshire, and the numerous conferences and conventions attended by various members of the group, including the Dementia Quality of Care Conference and the End of Life Care Conference.
Beth Britton gave an update on news since the last DSIG meeting on issues that affect the sector, including the CQC ‘State of Care’ report released in October 2016 and the figures released by the Office for National Statistics in November 2016.
“The Dementia Special Interest Group is really important because it helps staff come together to share ideas and best practice, as well as to share any problems they might be experiencing so that they can find a solution together. The group is ground breaking; from the work of the group has come the MacIntyre Dementia Project which seeks to improve the learning and understanding around dementia and learning disability for everyone. It’s really exciting to be a part of it.”
Jo and Jess also shared an update on their latest projects, one of which is a book of poems which will be released this month, as well as the third book in the Jess the Goth Fairy series – She’s Still My Nan – which is due to be launched later in the summer.
After hearing a moving and heart-warming account of caring for a family member with dementia and the emotional impact it has from Suzy Webster, the group watched a film ‘Darkness in the Afternoon’. The group reflected on the key messages within the film and then set about creating top tips for a booklet on validation and reality.
We ended the day with a progress update from our project team working on our Department of Health Funded Dementia Project.
The dates for the next DSIG meetings are 7 June, 27 September and 8 November.
If you have any questions about the group, please contact Emma Killick, Director (Adult Services) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org