The session was part of an ongoing staff development program covering all aspects of dementia care, with the primary focus on “being person centered”. Participants experienced first-hand what it would be like not to be treated in a person centered way and how their interactions make a difference to their residents well-being. As Susannah Spencer, Head of Dementia explains “Through experiential learning participants ‘walk in a person’s shoes’ with the aim of gaining a greater understanding of and empathy for the psychological needs of a person with dementia”.
“It helped me to be more dementia friendly and understand the residents better” said Jessica Williams Care Worker at The Grove Care Home.
The program, entitled “Precious Me”, was facilitated by Susannah Spencer at The Grove. The fundamentals of “Precious Me” are founded in the concept of experiential learning, which is a process of learning through experience and reflection. This is completely different from traditional classroom based learning, where participants are relatively passive. “Precious Me” is dedicated to exploring the various ways the environment and relationships that surround the person with dementia influences and impacts on them.
Feedback from staff after the session was very positive, with staff able to appreciate the benefits and put into practice what they learned immediately. Senior Care Worker Jo Dayton commented “I will look at the wider picture and see if I can do anything above and beyond to make a person with dementia feel more valued as a person“.