Care assistants and supervisors at Bluebird Care Bath & North East Somerset have benefited from innovative training to help them experience the difficulties of living with dementia.
Bluebird Care provides services in the homes of its customers.
Visits from care assistants cover a variety of tailored services, from personal care to companionship, home help, trips into the community and 24-hour live-in support.
Staff at the company must therefore be prepared to meet any challenge for their customers, many of whom live with dementia.
Earlier this month, they undertook the Training 2 Care’s Dementia Tour, a proven method of giving a healthy individual the opportunity to experience and understand what it is like to have dementia.
As part of the training, participants wear mittens in a thick material to impair their ability to perform tasks or hold items, wear headphones and glasses with altered lenses to impair their vision and make them feel disorientated and operate in dark rooms with coloured lights to add to the disorientation and overall frustration.
Furthermore, participants wear spiked insoles in their shoes to cause the onset of pins and needles.
The training is undertaken by 200,000 people annually, and has been commissioned by 18 NHS Trusts, care homes, nursing homes, emergency services, universities, local authorities, and the Care Quality Commission.
The experience allowed carers at Bluebird Care Bath & North East Somerset the opportunity to understand the difficulties and frustrations that their customers live with.
Katie Dunn, a Care Assistant at Bluebird Care Bath, commented: “The training was excellent, and I really enjoyed it.
“It was a difficult experience, but I feel like I can do a lot more and a lot better with those of our customers that have dementia now that I have a better understanding of what they’re going through.”
Michael Peachey, Associate Director for Experience Training at Training 2 Care, added: “At Training 2 Care, we believe that training should lead to positive changes in practice. Experimental training such as the Virtual Dementia Tour, Dementia Interpreter course, and Autism Reality Experience, all help to achieve this.
“Delegates never forget these sessions. The lessons they learn then stay with them forever, and lead to people receiving better care and support.
“We are incredibly proud to be working in partnership with Bluebird Care Bath & North East Somerset to achieve our joint aim of making transformational changes to the way care is provided.”