Portrait of a Life e-learning – helping to look at the past, the present and the person


It’s much easier to meet someone’s needs when you know exactly what they are, but if someone has trouble expressing themselves, digging deeper can be difficult.

Portrait of a Life was developed by us as a way of looking into the rich histories of people with dementia in order to offer the most appropriate care which considers their pasts, preferences, and personalities.

It comes as an e-learning package designed to provide people who work in health and care settings – including NHS and care homes – with the skills and knowledge to conduct life story work. It can also be used by families and carers of people who have health and/or social care needs such as dementia.

Life story work is a way of looking at the whole person – seeing how their past influences the person they’ve become. Understanding a person’s history can help shape a positive future by capturing their values, wishes and aspirations.

Portrait of a Life was developed in 2009 by a team of clinicians and experts at the Trust who all work in the field of life story work. It’s currently in use across the UK and around the world, including Australia, America, Canada, Singapore, Portugal and The Channel Islands.

Between October 2015 – March 2017, 14 care homes and one assisted living facility were trained and supported with Portrait of a Life resources. This resulted in over 30 training days and over 100 support sessions provided to over 140 people.

As part of a follow up evaluation, 100% of care home staff reported an increased knowledge and understanding of how and when to capture life story information that is meaningful for the individual.

Portrait of a Life e-learning – helping to look at the past, the present and the person

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