An award-winning research report that could dramatically improve the quality of life for people with dementia will be launched at the University of Abertay Dundee today (Monday 21st September) on World Alzheimer’s Day.
Entitled ‘There is much more to my practice than checking up on tablets: Developing nursing practice: a counselling approach to delivering post-diagnostic dementia support’, the report has already collected a national award for good practice from the Mental Health Nursing Forum of Scotland.The report was produced following a collaborative research project between Abertay University, NHS Tayside and the University of Edinburgh. It contains important key messages for both healthcare and counselling practice which could dramatically improve the care provided for people with early stage dementia.
Its publication is seen as particularly timely, since the Scottish Government has set tackling dementia as a national priority and has, among other things, commissioned NHS Boards across the country to deliver agreed improvements in the early diagnosis and management of people with a dementia by March 2011. Each NHS Board will initially respond to a target increase of 33%.
Dr Dot Weaks, who led the study while employed by Abertay, said: “Community Mental Health Nurses have the potential to implement counselling interventions that allow patients and family members to develop effective strategies for living with early dementia. The potential for improvements in the quality of life for these people is immense.
“Community Mental Health Nurses require further specific and expert training to include counselling skills in their role with people with dementia - it is possible to achieve these improvements within existing roles and resourcing levels.”
Research findings also included recommendations for more thorough training of Community Mental Health Nurses in counselling and psychosocial interventions concerning early dementia. The report says that training that is too brief has proved to be very damaging to both staff and patients.
The research was funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing.