Staff at North West Regional College (NWRC) who trained Northern Ireland’s first ‘Dementia Champions’ working in health and social care, have been commended for their work.
At a graduation ceremony held recently in Cookstown, the first cohort of graduates received their certificates after completing the training programme.
During 2017 a further two cohorts will complete the Dementia Champions training programme which will bring the number of Dementia Champions in Northern Ireland to over 300.
Geraldine Lavery, Head of Health at NWRC, highlighted how those who took part in the Dementia Champions programme have developed not only improved dementia practice skills but also e-Learning skills which they can now apply professionally and as lifelong learners.
She added: “NWRC is delighted to work in partnership with Connected Health to deliver this innovative blended learning programme which consisted of participants taking part in one day of workshops every six weeks alongside online mentoring.
“Staff from our Health and Social Care department worked with colleagues from our Technology Enhanced Learning Support team to develop a programme that marries high quality online materials, communications technologies and active learning tools to provide an engaging learning programme. Our training team’s commitment to excellence in delivering the programme was evident throughout and we have already seen participants implementing real change across work places across Northern Ireland. I would like to congratulate all those who took part and we look forward to continuing with this innovative programme in 2017.”
Lorna Conn, Dementia Together Project Manager HSCB paid tribute to the training providers at NWRC and Connected Health, as well as the hard work and dedication of the graduates.
She said: “We all of us, at some point in our lives, need to engage with health and social care staff and we expect and deserve to receive the very best possible care and treatment from trained and committed staff. Training helps to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver the service that we need and expect.
“On a daily basis our Dementia Champions graduates work to improve the quality of life, care and well-being of people with a dementia and their carers. Their commitment to this innovative course reflects their commitment to delivering that shared vision.”
Key areas covered by the programme include receiving a dementia diagnosis, research and evidence based practice in dementia care, communication and promoting enabling environments. The course is delivered via a blended learning approach of five study days, online resources and the submission of work-based assignments. Open to health and social care staff from all disciplines and work settings, it is unique in that students are required to undertake a change project within their area of work that will lead to improved practice, care, support and treatment for people with a dementia and their carers.
The Dementia Champions Training Programme was developed and provided in partnership by the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency, Connected Health, North West Regional College, Department of Health and Atlantic Philanthropies.