On 8th July a group of 33 first year undergraduate nursing students attended a dementia themed workshop, led by Dr Michelle Heward from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC), to gain insight into the lived experience of dementia. The day included an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends session and simulation activities from the Dementia Education And Learning Through Simulation 2 (DEALTS2) programme, including the A Walk Through Dementia virtual reality app.
DEALTS2 uses an experiential learning approach to put trainees into the ‘shoes of a person with dementia’ to gain an insight into how the condition impacts on the person. In 2017, Health Education England commissioned the ADRC team to replace their original DEALTS programme with a new and improved version aligned to the learning outcomes of the national Dementia Training Standards Framework. Our research demonstrates that the training programme is being used nationally in acute care settings and has effectively increased trainer knowledge of dementia and confidence to utilise innovative training approaches (Heward et al., 2021). On the day it was great to see the students engaging positively with the innovative training approaches to gain a unique understanding of the lived experience of dementia.
The dementia day is part of a simulation programme being delivered by the Clinical Skills Nursing team at Bournemouth University. The simulation programme has been designed and created in response to a current shortage of nursing placements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The placement has allowed the students access to varying specialist nurses and healthcare providers, from Nutrition Nurse specialists to Advanced Clinical Practitioner nurses working within the Air ambulance service, giving the students access that they may not have encountered within their practice.
On the 13th July 2018, the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) hosted a free half-day workshop for dementia practitioners and academics interested in understanding how digital gaming technology can be used to support the well-being of people with dementia and their care partners.
The event was attended by people from a range of professional backgrounds including care home staff, day centre Activity Coordinators, community volunteers, researchers and local Government. The morning session provided them with the opportunity to listen to presentations from:
- Dr Ben Hicks (ADRC and Psychology) on the Erasmus+ funded ‘AD-Gaming platform’ that promotes the use of Serious Games for people with dementia as well as the HEIF funded ‘Game Plan’ platform that supports practitioners to use off-the-shelf gaming technology with people with dementia and exchange knowledge on best practice through a Virtual Café.
- Dr Phil Joddrell (CATCH, Sheffield University) on the AcTo Dementia website that provides a list of iPad applications accessible for people with dementia, each of which have been tested using an evidence-based framework.
- Laura Wade (BU Nursing student) on the use of a Virtual Application, ‘A Walk Through Dementia’ that places users in the position of someone living with dementia; thereby providing them with a more humanistic understanding of what it might feel like to live with the condition.
During the afternoon session, the attendees were provided with a more ‘hands-on’ opportunity to use the applications and talk to the researchers in more detail about how the technology could be incorporated within their practice. These sessions were facilitated by Bournemouth University students Amy Dytham, Amy-Jane Pegler and Olivia Bryant who have been involved as Research Assistants in a number of the projects.
The event provoked some interesting questions and seemed to raise awareness of how technology can be used in the future care of people with dementia; both in providing those living with the condition with better opportunities for meaningful leisure activities and those supporting them with a more informed understanding of what it may be like to live with a dementia. The event also provided a great networking opportunity for the attendees, and discussions regarding future collaborations are already underway.
For more information on the event or for a copy of the presentations that were delivered on the day please contact Ben Hicks on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Hicks discussing the HEIF funded Game Plan project
Laura Wade discussing A Walk Through Dementia
Phil Joddrell discussing the development of the AcTo Dementia website
Amy Dytham leading a training session on the AD-Gaming platform
Some thought provoking discussions