but no worries I’m out and back in the UK!!
I had the privilege of being invited to represent the British Geriatric Society (BGS) Nurses and AHP Council to talk about Dementia and the nurse’s role at the Scientific and Practical Conference Long Term Care Focus on Dementia in St Petersburg last week. What struck me most as I listened to the presentation interpreted from Russian or Hebrew into English is that when it comes to talking about dementia we have more in common than divides us. Nurses, academics, physicians, psychiatrists, and nutritionists all talked about wanting to provide a person centred approach to care, seeing the person not their diagnosis and in essence wanting to offer a humanised approach to care. They discussed the importance of preparing nurses to work with older people and people with dementia and the challenges this poses for the curriculum. They emphasised the need for more research into what is ‘living well with dementia’ and how we can provide it. The presenters spoke with a passion that was inspiring.
I was able to offer the UK perspective and highlight examples from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) at BU about our innovative approaches to education, research and practical examples of enabling people with dementia to live richer lives. My talk was being translated from English to Russian so as I started my talk I invited everyone to stand up to relieve their pressure areas (we had been sitting still for 2 hours and I am a nurse after all), I do not know what was translated but everyone did stand up, looking a bit bemused. Fortunately when I said to sit down again they all did – hand gestures helped! I felt like I was at the UN with my earpiece carefully in place, but was in awe of the eagerness to learn from others. I was the only person from the UK, but there were speakers from Norway, Israel and of course Russia all presenting. We have so much in common that I hope our conversations will continue.
I was able to stay the weekend and did a mini tour, that included the Hermitage Museum, the ballet (wow!), an overnight sleeper train to Moscow (I felt like I was in a Agatha Christi film), and of course go in to the Kremlin. It was a fascinating conference and trip.