Supporting those that care

A new pilot scheme has been running to help carers who are looking after someone living with dementia.

One of the most difficult aspects is understanding and coping with changes in behaviour which can be a key feature of the illness.

A group of Northumberland carers have been part of a pilot scheme delivered by Debbie Sells, Advanced Practitioner at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) a provider of mental health and disability services.

For eight weeks, carers have been coming together at the Dementia Care Day Centre in Hexham to consider ways of dealing with the behaviours that some of their loved ones display.

Each week the programme covered a new theme, supporting the carers to explore and test out new interventions to deal with the behaviour and help when they are struggling with aspects of care.

I wouldn’t have been able to help the carers through this programme without the support of Dementia Care. They have provided the facilities and venue for the group free of charge and their staff have looked after the carers loved ones, allowing them to feel relaxed and able to participate fully in gaining a better understanding of the journey that they are all going through.

Debbie SellsAdvanced Practitioner

One of the carers who has completed the programme said: “Thank you Debbie, you have given me a better understanding of why things happen. I’ve learnt distraction techniques when things are getting tough and how my reaction can affect those we are caring for.

“It’s been great to share our experiences with each other and realise that I’m not the only one going through this.”

The group will be evaluated over the next few months in the hope that future groups can be supported.