Family members of people with dementia who live in care, as well as placement commissioners, are becoming increasingly interested in the capacity of specialist independent residential care settings to provide comprehensive and individually tailored care packages. This is particularly important for people with dementia who present with complex difficulties, where the value of psychological support to care staff is crucial in maintaining a quality care experience for the person in care.
At Psychology South Essex we have experience of working with care providers, offering a combination of specialist clinical psychology, neuropsychology, neurorehabilitation and older-adult psychology services including psychological assessment, consultation, training to care staff and direct therapeutic work with people in placement and their families. We convert cutting-edge insights from research into interventions for psychological distress and trauma, using approaches which engage and interest older people, many who have previously been described as ‘challenging’ or ‘difficult to engage’.
How would a person with dementia benefit from our intervention?
We believe that through our interventions we can enable a person with dementia to:
- Feel more contained, loved and connected with others and less lonely, scared and misunderstood
- Maintain their personal identity
- Participate in meaningful activities
- To have signs and symptoms of mental health conditions appropriately recognised and recorded
- To have specific needs arising from sensory impairment recognised and recorded and, where possible, corrected
- To have symptoms and signs of physical problems recognised and recorded and treated, where possible
- To have access to the full range of healthcare services when they need them.
How would a care provider benefit from our service?
The benefits of Psychological Interventions for the provider are multiple:
- Demonstrated compliance with NICE Quality Standard QS50 as framework for the ongoing provision of care
- Evidence-based interventions
- Opportunities to evaluate input and placement outcomes
- Significant added quality of care value to the placement package
- Attractive support package when bidding for placements
- Fewer placement breakdowns; longer placement length
- Reduced staff turnover, increased staff morale & satisfaction
How do we work?
We work with care organisations through the support of consultations, supervision & training. Specialist training and post-qualification development are prioritised, to ensure individualised, formulation based care packages which are of the highest quality delivering optimum outcomes for the person with dementia, care staff, care organisations and placement commissioners.
We support staff teams to deliver psychologically informed care. When thinking of each person as an individual we encourage staff teams to pay attention to particular people’s life experience and relationships (including attachment history and traumas) and work towards recognising the person’s individuality and resilience, without losing sight of the person’s safety and their physical health.
What else can we offer?
Additionally, we are experienced in offering neuro-behavioural rehabilitation to people with dementia, where appropriate, utilising the following methods, among others:
- Cognitive rehabilitation – which maximises the cognitively impaired individuals’ ability to compensate for cognitive deficits and / or guides others to most efficiently support them. It entails an individualised programme of specific skills training and practice.
- Functional and cognitive assessments - to provide individualised recommendations, which can help support staff to tailor care in a manner that promotes or maintains abilities.
- Applied behaviour analysis (ABA) - the application of behaviour analysis to the modification of behaviours. We support staff to use the completed specialised recording forms in a meaningful way, and our Psychologist will help staff to analyse the information collected. The results help us to truly understand the relationship between specific behaviours and the environment.
- Enhancing Understanding: part of our work lies in helping families and staff to better understand the residents’ situation, in terms of physical, social, psychiatric and psychological needs. These have often changed suddenly and will be continuing to change. This work may therefore relate to physical ability, emotional adjustment and familial relationships. Often, aspects of loss and grief have to be addressed. The focus on working with the individual helps those involved to understand where they are in those stages of change and tailor interventions to promote self-understanding and motivation.
Why the psychological intervention may be useful?
We recognise that people with dementia in care have complex needs which need to be understood within the context of their life history and experiences. Meaningful psychological engagement with people with dementia is an ongoing priority, which – we believe - should be woven into their daily experiences. Our therapeutic model is at the heart of our way of working. Our therapeutic pathway enables us to support the needs of people with dementia by using psychological assessment and formulation, which enables us to develop a unique therapeutic plan for each person aimed at helping the people around them to address their individual difficulties.
Our experience has shown that an inclusive care package, with the right level of clinical psychology provision for the individual, the family, and the care staff leads to continual and successful life at the care home and often also to a meaningful change into the person’s quality of life.