This Dementia Action Week, care provider Agincare is reaffirming its commitment to John’s Campaign, helping its staff recognise the importance of working with the family carers of people with dementia.
Our specialist dementia lead nurse Jo Palmer explains why Agincare was the first independent care group to sign up to John’s Campaign.
John’s Campaign was founded in November 2014 by Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones to highlight the negative impact of disconnection on people with dementia.
Nicci’s father Dr John Gerrard, who had dementia, went into hospital in February 2014, but restrictive visiting hours meant that Nicci and her family couldn’t be with John whenever they wanted.
John spent five weeks in hospital, with very little connection to his life at home, and when he returned home he needed 24-hour care. Dr John Gerrard died in November 2014.
Nicci and her friend Julia Jones (whose mother June also had dementia) vowed to challenge hospitals to recognise the crucial role played by family carers in the life and identity of someone with dementia, and to welcome them in whenever they wanted to spend time with their loved-one.
Since then more than 1,500 hospitals, care providers and GPs have pledged their support to the campaign.
I’m proud to say that Agincare was the first independent care group to sign up to John’s Campaign. The campaign reflects the high value we place on working in partnership with family carers.
We strongly encourage family carers to maintain their involvement in our residents’ lives as an integral part of ongoing care and support. Many relatives and friends carers truly become part of our homes, and part of the family and are valued members of our communities.
Signing up to John’s Campaign was a natural step for us; at Agincare we truly believe that the greatest learning our staff can receive is that provided by the people using the services, and their family carers.
Our person-centred and relationship-centred approach to care focuses around each individual and their family, friends and people who are important to them. We really get to know everyone so we can help them feel reassured, engaged and comfortable – learning their unique biography, their needs and preferences for how they like things to be.
We work in collaboration with other relevant health and social care professionals to ensure a consistent approach to health and well-being.
Agincare’s commitment to promoting the crucial role of family carers isn’t limited to our care and nursing homes. My role as specialist dementia nurse lead is to promote best practice and the latest learning in dementia to all Agincare staff, whether they work in care homes, provide live-in care or domiciliary care, or work in Agincare’s Dorset head office. Some of the key skills that are invaluable are the ‘softer’ ones, such as communication, empathy and compassion.
I have many years’ experience working as a nurse and a mental health nurse. My role here at Agincare has included time as a Consultant Admiral Nurse (Agincare was the first independent care company to employ a full-time Consultant Admiral Nurse) providing specialist dementia support.
We are dedicated to creating partnerships between people living with dementia, their carers and people that are important to them, and our care and support staff.
While John’s Campaign was begun to highlight the story of people with dementia, it’s not just people with dementia living in care homes that need their family and friends’ ongoing connection. We actively support relatives and loved-ones to freely visit people living in all our homes, not just those that care for people with dementia. We have an ‘open door’ policy, and none of our residential care or nursing homes have set visiting times.