Despite the high prevalence of people with a dementia who live in care homes, there is a lack of appropriate training for the workforce that provides their care. The project DESCARTES has developed arts-based workshops as a means of education for the dementia care workforce. The aim of the workshop is to facilitate emotional learning, to empower care home staff and to encourage person-centred dementia care in line with current government recommendations. The workshops are interactive and responsive to the needs of care home staff. Innovative methods were used to communicate with the care home staff, including the development of comics that were specifically designed to convey complex information simply and quickly. The workshops were delivered to a range of care staff (senior care assistants, night staff and domestic staff) in a dementia care home and were found to be useful, enjoyable and to provide new insights into the lives of those living with a dementia. These arts-based workshops would benefit from further development and much wider dissemination.
This project was coordinated and delivered by Dr. Hannah Zeilig (Senior Research Associate, RSC, UEA) in close collaboration with John Killick (poet and international expert on dementia care) and colleagues at UEA: Professor Fiona Poland (RSC) and Dr. Chris Fox (MED).