A South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust initiative has been awarded £15,000 today as part of national scheme to improve the quality of life for people with dementia in care homes. The initiative was set up to develop a multimedia toolkit to help staff create life stories for dementia patients as a way of piecing together their past. The first-of-its-kind project is being funded as part of the Mental Health Foundation’s Home Improvements programme.
The Government recently launched the first national dementia strategy which called for an increased focus on dementia care in care homes. Two in three care home residents have a form of the condition, but specialist dementia services are often underdeveloped.
This ground breaking initiative promotes meaningful engagement, wellbeing and personhood as well as positive relationships between people with dementia and their friends, relatives and carers. The £15,000 funding will open up opportunities for care home staff to create life stories by giving them training, support and guidance.
The Trust’s assistant director of older people’s services Sue Barton said, "Life history and memory box work has the potential to make a real difference for individuals with dementia, their families and staff caring for them. We are delighted to have secured funding for this exciting and innovative project which will now be taken forward to enrich care for people with dementia. Our commitment to the project demonstrates that not only are we are a forward thinking organisation that is responding to national requirements, but also one that cares greatly about the individual experiences of those we provide care for."
Other Home Improvements projects around the country, in Blackpool, Norfolk, and Oxfordshire will each focus on a different aspect of residential care that could be improved. Once evaluated, all the Home Improvements schemes’ successes, including those in South West Yorkshire, will be shared to ensure they can be adopted across the country.
Toby Williamson, Associate Head of Service Improvement for the Mental Health Foundation, said "Dementia costs the UK £17 billion and 60,000 lives a year. Yet as these figures rise many care homes are closing and still more are unable to provide specialist care. We need to make sure that care homes are fully engaged with and supported to meet the challenge of giving their residents the best quality of life possible."