Helen Gilbert – Head Of Patient Services at Leeds Teaching Hospital, has just become a dementia champion. It is the same Helen that I mentioned on a previous blog – the Apple guru – who guided me through the maze of the iPad technology.
She is now about to embark on training all her managers on Dementia Awareness with the added twist of me giving the opportunity to deliver a speech at the end. The training will not only be from the perspective of the patient but now from the employees perspective as well. Helen use to be my manager in our previous world, and has been wonderfully supportive since hearing of my diagnosis and is now doing everything she can to raise awareness.
Her decision to attend a Dementia Friends training session and becoming a Dementia Friend Champion was purely coincidental, as she was already aware of the need for training with regards to patients and only took on the stance from an employee perspective when she heard about me. At last, someone doing something positive and practical. As I’ve said before, I work for the NHS, in one of the largest Trusts in the country, employing 15,000 people. Statistics say that I can’t possibly be the only employee affected in some way by dementia.
The powers that be will only get brownie points from me if they put something into action, talking about it doesn’t count.
Well, Helen can have a bucket full of brownie points. She held her first brilliant dementia awareness session yesterday. About 30 managers attended. I also attended in my capacity as a team leader and interacted with the other managers during the session. At the end, Helen read out my ‘Memory Poem’ and then introduced me as its author. I stood up and announced that although I was use to standing in front of an audience of Ward Managers and Matrons as an expert in eRostering and staffing, I was standing in front of them today as an expert in Alzheimer’s. I went on to explain, as Helen had said, that dementia isn’t age related and isn’t just patient related. Our hope is that this was powerful enough to steer their thoughts around ‘awareness’ in general for staff and patients alike and acknowledging all age groups may be affected. I hope they went back to their areas with renewed vision. More talks organised for the New Year!
I’m sure they got lots out of the session – if you haven’t already become a dementia friend please sign up today – it’s so simple – web address below.