Mitchell, G. & McCreevy, J. Dementia. Published online: March 14 2016
The ‘dementia friends’ programme was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK two years ago with the purpose of educating members of the public about the things they can do which can enhance the lives of people living with dementia. The aim of this project was to deliver a two-hour ‘Dementia Friendly Community Workshop’ written by the Alzheimer’s Society, to an entire cohort of first-year undergraduate nursing students in one Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland.
Following delivery of the programme, students were asked to complete a short questionnaire on their knowledge and confidence in relation to dementia care before and after the Dementia Friendly Community programme. A total of 322 undergraduate first-year nursing students took part in the Dementia Friendly Community programme. Of these, 304 returned questionnaires; 31.25% of students stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘good’ while 49.01% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘very good’ and 13.49% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘excellent’. In relation to confidence in engaging with people with dementia, 31.91% stated ‘good’ improvement, 40.79% stated ‘very good’ improvement and 11.84% stated ‘excellent’ improvement.
The Dementia Friendly Community programme was positively reviewed by the undergraduate students as it enhanced knowledge and confidence in relation to care of someone living with dementia.
The Local Government Association has published in collaboration with the community interest company Innovations in Dementia, Dementia friendly communities: guidance for councils. This guidance outlines the important role of councils in supporting people with dementia by creating local dementia friendly communities and demonstrates how councils are making this happen through case study examples.
Innovations in Dementia have produced a quick checklist on how to perform an audit with the aim of making buildings more suitable for people with dementia. The “access audit” includes an assessment of how persons with dementia typically approach the building and navigate the inside. Use of suitable signs, lighting, flooring, seating areas, toilets etc. are covered. This brief guide signposts readers where to obtain further advice and guidance.