NHS Trust to launch multimedia toolkit for dementia


South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has launched a multimedia toolkit as part of an innovative project that was awarded £15,000 of charity funding. The multimedia toolkit will make a difference to people with dementia who live in the region’s care homes and to other healthcare professionals around the world.

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist NHS mental health and learning disability services to nearly 1 million people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. The Trust also provides some specialist services to the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber.

The initiative, ‘Portrait of a life’ is part of a national scheme to improve the quality of life for people with dementia in care homes. The initiative, which was given £15,000 funding from the Mental Health Foundation, was originally launched in June 2009, but since then a multimedia toolkit has been developed to help staff create life stories for dementia patients as a way of piecing together their past.

The official launch of the multimedia toolkit takes place on Friday 9th July at the Gandhi Hall, Leeds Metropolitan University.

The ‘Portrait of a life’ multimedia toolkit contains materials that will help care homes understand the importance of working with residents and their families to build ‘life histories’ as well as practical examples and guidance on how to do this. The toolkit also provides the evidence base and how to produce a life story in a variety of formats tailored to suit the needs of the individual.

The initiative promotes meaningful engagement and wellbeing as well as positive relationships between people with dementia and their friends, relatives and carers. The toolkit opens up opportunities for care home staff to create life stories by giving them training, support and guidance.

Steven Michael, chief executive of the Trust said, “Life history work is already making a massive difference for individuals with dementia, their families and staff caring for them. We are delighted to be launching this multimedia toolkit which has the potential to help so many more people."

Suzanne Wightman, senior manager in practice development for the Trust who led the project added, "Great interest in the multimedia toolkit was shown at a recent dementia conference in Australia and a number of orders have already been placed.”

Another of the authors, Micky O’Neill, said, “The benefits that will be reaped from this initiative will be out of all proportion to the time and money that has been spent on it and it will make a real difference to the lives of individuals.”

If you would like to find out more about this project or the toolkit itself, or if you want to be kept up to date with developments, please email dcm@swyt.nhs.uk or telephone Andrea Trangmar, project administrator, on 01484 343207.

NHS Trust to launch multimedia toolkit for dementia

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