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Understanding Dementia and the Dementia Friends programme - #WeStNs
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Hosted by WeStudentNurse using #WeStNs
@WeStudentNurse(#WeStNs) is a peer support network based on Twitter with over 13,000 followers that is run by student nurses for student nurses. As a team they connect with students to offer support and learning opportunities through a wide range of different activities including regular tweet chats, daily revision polls and podcasts.
The team were approached by Victoria Lyons, an Admiral Nurse with Dementia UK to look at delivering some learning around dementia care to their followers, Tony Longbone a member of the #WeStNs team seized this opportunity and has developed a virtual event to coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day which is held annually on September 21st.
Tony is passionate about dementia and mental health having spent over ten years working in mental health services before taking up his training to become a registered mental health nurse. He has worked hard to develop a blended learning approach for the day to ensure that their followers have the opportunity to engage in the event in a way that suits them.
The event is planned to run throughout the day providing a variety of ways to engage, the team will focus their Twitter activity on the day so that it is dedicated to raising awareness of dementia and looking at ways that we can break the stigma associated with the illness which is The Alzheimer’s Society’s theme for this years campaign. The team will also be offering two different webinars, the first is dedicated to raising awareness of the illness and promoting the Dementia Friends initiative. The second is a question and answer session dedicated to the different dementia caring roles with panel guests including Victoria Lyons (Dementia UK), Tommy Whitelaw (Alliance Scotland), and Fiona McCandless-Sugg(University of Derby).
When supporting a person living with dementia it is important that we as professionals, take a whole person approach and ensuring that we also work with the person’s family or significant others. The importance of hearing the carer’s story can never be emphasised enough (Tolman and Harrison Dening, 2018) and with this in mind the team will be releasing a podcast on the day to demonstrate the journey of family carers when supporting their loved ones.
The final part of the day will see the team hosting a tweet chat focussed on the VERA communication model (Blackhall, Hawkes, Hingley and Wood, 2011) which is widely accepted as a tool that can support us all when supporting or caring for a person living with dementia, the model encourages you to connect with the person on an emotional level whilst stepping into their world to reduce levels of distress or anxiety that may be experienced in their day to day life through the use of validation, reassurance and engaging the person.
If you’d like to attend the Understanding Dementia and the Dementia Friends program session at 10.30am GMT, please follow the link to register your interest and receive the link to join: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBSessionDetails?id=a055I0000096w5AQAQ#.X0z8XdNKg1I.
Blackhall,A., Hawkes, D., Hingley, D. and Wood, S., 2011. VERA Framework:Communicating With People Who Have Dementia. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22206170/)
Tolman,S. and Harrison Dening, K., 2018. A Relationship-Centred Approach toManaging Pain In Dementia. (https://journals.rcni.com/nursing-older-people/a-relationshipcentred-approach-to-managing-pain-in-dementia-nop.2018.e985)