Balhousie Dementia Ambassador Team Meeting, July 2018: Learning, Developing, Sharing and Celebrating.

Our July dementia ambassador meeting was another packed agenda.  I was surprised with how busy it was during what was the holiday season and I think that evidences just how passionate and committed our team is about the program.

We were lucky to have two external speakers at the meeting Rhona Campbell from Action on hearing loss and Craig J Lemmon from Miigen. Rhona spoke about how to support individuals, the different types of devices available, how to access and maintain hearing aids and the value in doing so.  Craig spoke about digital life stories including recording history and life events using pictures and voice tags and the benefits this can bring to residents and improving their overall wellbeing. We all loved the idea of being able to create a bucket list and add photographic evidence of when we had achieved that goal and felt that fitted very much with our wish trees around the homes.

Heather Smith ASC operations manager joined our meeting and discussed our new supporting people project and how we are looking to share our learning and practice, using skills and talents we have in our learning disability teams and our dementia teams to further improve outcomes for those who live and work in our care homes.

After our guest speakers it was time to share our stories and celebrate the success of Clement park winning at the Scottish Social Services Awards for Living the Codes with their personalised environment, with our dementia program being runners up at the same awards, along with myself winning the leadership award at the RCNi awards, Tanya and Maria getting up on stage at the Alzheimer Scotland conference and our residents making a video for the same conference. Public speaking can be a daunting experience but I am incredibly proud of how far many of our ambassadors have come over the last two years with several now speaking at events, doing internal presentations and writing about their experiences and best practice.

We discussed how far we have come as a team in the last two years, and celebrated Dalnaglar home in Crieff becoming the first of our homes to have 100% of staff complete both informed and skilled promoting excellence training in dementia care.

Ambassadors and some of our head office members tried out our new experiential equipment which aims to support our skilled training sessions by enabling staff and families to experience activities in daily living as some of our residents do. The equipment can simulate tremors, unsteady gait, joint and muscle stiffness, restricted mobility along with visual and hearing disturbance. We are excited going forward and keen to see how the program is evolving.

If you would like to join our dementia ambassador team please ask your nearest dementia ambassador for a sign up form, or speak to your home manager. If you are interested in coming along and presenting to the ambassador group feel free to contact myself Yvonne Manson Dementia Nurse Consultant at Yvonne.manson@