Bupa is launching a ‘dementia discussion map’ to help people who have recently been diagnosed and their families to better understand life with the condition.
The discussion map, which is being launched at this year’s UK Dementia Congress in Brighton (10 to 12 November), is a therapy tool to help Bupa’s Admiral Nurses frame discussion and conversation with people who are in the early stages of dementia.
Bupa’s Admiral Nurses are specialists in dementia care. They will use the discussion map to help people in communities and care homes across the country to navigate their way through the upset and confusion that follows diagnosis, and address topics, issues and questions that they might have.
Professor Graham Stokes, Global Director for Dementia Care, said:
“A diagnosis of dementia can be a traumatic experience for both the person and their family and often leaves people feeling scared and overwhelmed. We noticed that there is a real gap when it comes to guiding people through the first months after diagnosis. This map is meant to help them to make sense of their life after it has been turned upside-down and to provide reassurance and answers to some of the questions and worries they might have.”
Designed to be used with people who have had an early diagnosis, the map depicts a seascape complete with a marina, boats, beaches and rocky waters in order to articulate some of the moments, emotions, and experiences that someone living with dementia might encounter. It covers areas such as the diagnosis itself, working through feelings, dealing with relationships, finding advice and support, planning for the future, acknowledging that there will be good and bad days as well as considering how to keep healthy and enjoy life.
The ‘dementia discussion map’ was conceived and created through in-depth working sessions with Bupa’s dementia ambassadors – a group of expert practitioners across the organisation – and Bupa Admiral Nurses led by the Global Director of Dementia Care, Professor Graham Stokes, who has specialised in this area for over 25 years and pioneered the ‘person first’ approach to care.
An activity log has been created to accompany the discussion map to encourage conversation within the group sessions and share tips and experiences.
Professor Stokes added:
“The discussion map is not a stand-a-lone tool – it requires training and expertise to use and we envisage Bupa Admiral Nurses will support people across the community who are going through the experience of coming to terms with their diagnosis of dementia.
“Ultimately, some of our dementia ambassadors and Bupa’s dementia champions known as Person First Coaches will be trained to use the discussion map but for the time being it, will be a specialist therapy tool for our Bupa Admiral Nurses to use.”
Bupa is now working on a second map, which addresses the more advanced stages of dementia and is tailored towards the family and carers of the person with dementia. This is due to be ready by the end of 2015.
Bupa has led the way in dementia care for many years, working closely with the University of Bradford to develop world-leading training for dementia care and establishing a unique scholarship programme for its employees.