Staff at North Court care home in Bury St Edmunds have been experiencing first hand what it is like to have dementia.
The experience was part of staff training as the home introduced new tecnhology which enables staff to monitor people with dementia and to adjust their care accordingly.
The Four Seasons Health Care home, alongside its sister facility Catchpole Court in Sudbury, have been accredited to use this new approach called the Dementia Care Framework.
This uses technology to monitor people living with dementia so that their care can be continuously updated. The technology builds up a comprehensive picture of each resident’s physical, psychological and emotional condition and their day-to-day experience so that their care and support needs can be met.
The specially designed software is thought to be the first of its kind worldwide.
It is based on 320 recognised standards including NICE guidelines and Alzheimer’s Society best practice guidance and is updated electronically by care staff, replacing paper based audits which are slow and time-consuming and often behind the changing care needs of the person.
Dr Claire Royston, group medical director for Four Seasons Health Care, said: “Everyone working in the home has completed training, including an experience of what it is like to live with dementia. The experience simulates the sensory and cognitive impairments, the confusion and the frustrations and even the emotional effects associated with dementia. This helps them to understand something of the perspective of the person who is living with the condition and increase empathy with them. It makes learning best care practice so much more meaningful.
“This is a new generation of dementia care. Sadly we know that in the absence of a clinical cure it is a progressive condition, but with the right support the effects of dementia progression can be slowed and the person with dementia can enjoy a good life experience and be happy,”
An example of how the system works is that it will check a resident’s medication and if it is outside the expected parameters will prompt a request for a GP review. It can also monitor a resident’s weight and BMI and prompt further discussion regarding their diet.