New DVD ensures social service staff informed about dementia

In the first joint education initiative of its kind in Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) have produced an educational resource for the entire health and social services workforce in Scotland.

Entitled Informed about Dementia: improving practice, the DVD is an important milestone in achieving the aims of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy and has been fully endorsed by Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG), the national campaigning group run for and by people with dementia.

The DVD will help to ensure that all health and social service staff understand more about dementia and can think differently about the people with dementia that they might work with either directly or indirectly.  Viewers are shown that they are likely to interact with people with dementia in a wide variety of situations, not just those specific to dementia care, and are encouraged to recognise the rights and abilities of people with dementia.  Viewers will also learn about some simple steps they can take to apply this learning in a way that can make a huge difference in improving the experience of people with dementia and their families, friends and carers in health and social services.

Dr Lindsay Burley, NES Chair commented: “NES is delighted to be working closely with SSSC to undertake a range of activities to support implementation of the workforce development priorities set out in Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy.  We jointly produced Promoting Excellence – a knowledge and skills framework for the entire health and social services workforce on behalf of the Scottish Government.

“The launch of this resource Informed about Dementia – Improving Practice marks a key and ambitious milestone in our joint dementia work programme and reflects both our organisations commitment to partnership and integrated working across health and social services.”

Garry Coutts, Convener of the SSSC, also welcomed the resource: “This initiative also reflects our ambition to improve and develop the skills and knowledge of everyone working in social services and health and our commitment to ensure our activities are focused on making a difference to the experiences and outcomes of people with dementia and those closest to them. We have been fortunate to have the support and wisdom of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and Alzheimer Scotland and we are indebted to both.”

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland and Chair of the NES/SSSC Programme Board said: “Alzheimer Scotland has campaigned for many years to improve dementia training and education for all staff employed in our health and social care system and we greatly welcome the chance to work with NHS NES and the SSSC to deliver this resource. Everyone working in health and social care, from receptionist to consultant, should watch and learn from this DVD: it will help to ensure that people with dementia, their families and carers are treated with dignity and respect. We believe no one should go through dementia on their own; this DVD can help all staff to play their part.”  
Agnes Houston, Chair of the SDWG, said “It is a must see – it will help you see us as we really are and help you to help us have a safe smooth journey whilst in your care.”
David Batchelor, Vice Chair of the SDWG, added “Appropriate training may contribute more than any other factor to the successful performance of health and social care workers in the area of dementia.”  

Welcoming the DVD, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Providing the very best care for every older person on every occasion, in care homes and in hospitals, continues to be a priority for the Scottish Government and this DVD is a great example of how we can drive real improvements in dementia services by helping health and social care workers better understand the needs of people with dementia.  

“An important part of the Promoting Excellence dementia skills framework is ensuring that all staff across health and social care have, as a minimum, baseline knowledge about dementia – and I am delighted to welcome this DVD which is a key educational resource for staff and managers.

“This work ties into Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy which is helping to drive real improvements in services, including better support for families and carers; and is laying the groundwork for transforming care in the longer term to meet the challenges of an increasing number of people with the illness.”