Still communicating: learning difficulties and dementia

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Why choose this course?

  • people with a learning difficulty are living longer and a proportion of them will develop dementia, sometimes showing early signs in their mid to late 40s
  • staff working in learning difficulties often have little experience of working with issues involved with ageing or dementia and can inadvertently abuse or neglect a person because of ignorance
  • communicating with people who have dementia as well as a learning difficulty requires a specialised approach
  • this course draws on Feil’s Validation Therapy, Kitwood’s Dementia Care Mapping plus experience gained through running sensory stimulation groups for people with learning difficulties and dementia
  • CQC are increasingly expecting staff to have had training in this area and recommend it on inspection
  • it ensures that Person Centred Planning continues in a meaningful way
  • positive results ~ staff are enthused and empowered rather than feeling helpless in the face of previously mystifying behaviour and can communicate using an expanded set of tools; users of the service are still treated as contributing, unique individuals ~ abuse is avoided

Length of course ~ 1 day 9.30 – 4.30 Please note that this course is a sequel to the basic course in dementia (see link)

Expected outcomes ~ by the end of the course participants will be able to

  • to be able to use a set of diagnostic tools (the Feil categories) with which to evaluate the mostappropriate way of communicating with people in various stages of dementia
  • to learn skills to deal with anxiety and concerns which may be poorly expressed
  • to increase the ability to stay calm and centred when dealing with people whose behaviour may present a problem to you, and to answer the underlying needs beneath the anger
  • to examine the underpinning theoretical assumptions of validation therapy
  • to increase confidence when responding to emotionally challenging situations with time disorientated users of the service
  • to use ‘preferred sense’ to expand communication
  • to be aware of symbolic gestures that may be a substitute for language, and how to respond appropriately
  • to build on existing skills so that people with dementia are not unknowingly treated abusively

Nature of training: maximum of 16 staff members in participative group work.
Exercises will range from lecture style input (small) to discussion and small group work and to individual sharing within pairs.
Handouts will be provided to reinforce all theoretical input.
Most exercises will be done in such a way that they can be replicated for use with users or customers of the service.

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