New Method of Understanding Dementia to Transform Care in the UK

June 12, 2013

Care for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the UK is set to be transformed when a leading healthcare training company starts to offer the Virtual Dementia Tour® – a hands-on, sensitivity training programme which gives people a greater understanding of the physical and mental challenges facing the more than 820,000 people in the UK with dementia.

Developed in the United States and experienced by more than 500,000 in 14 countries, the Virtual Dementia Tour has been used, and widely acclaimed for the past 12 years. Now, Essex-based Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd has been named as the only provider certified to present the Virtual Dementia Tour in the UK and will unveil it on Thursday (June 13) at a Chelmsford nursing home. Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd Managing Director, Glenn Knight, says the Virtual Dementia Tour has been praised by experts from around the world and believes its availability here could mark a major watershed for dementia care in this country.

He said: “It is a true sensitivity programme created for anyone seeking to understand the physical and mental challenges of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. In short, it is a total immersion which allows you to feel and understand what the person with dementia is feeling.”

Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd will be offering structured training sessions on the Virtual Dementia Tour to establishments across the UK whose staff have either direct or indirect contact with people with dementia. This could include care and nursing homes, day centres, hospitals, hospices, local authorities, prisons, universities and the retail sector.

The company’s national network of trainers will also be making the Virtual Dementia Tour available to carers and family members of people with dementia in towns and cities across the UK.

Based on years of scholarly research, the patented Virtual Dementia Tour was created in America by P. K. Beville, M.S., a leading specialist in geriatrics and founder in 1997 of Second Wind Dreams®, an international non-profit corporation involved in more than 500 communities for the elderly in the United States, Canada and Israel. Beville will be attending the UK launch on Thursday.

During a Virtual Dementia Tour experience, participants meet with certified trainers who guide them through the Tour and fit them out with patented devises that alter the senses. Tasks and exercise that are part of the Tour enable carers and professionals to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges facing those with dementia

Glenn Knight said: “The major benefit of the Virtual Dementia Tour is that it gives you a window into the world of those suffering with dementia. It truly is an unusual, emotional and very thought-provoking experience. It's impossible to know exactly what it feels like to have Alzheimer's, but the Virtual Dementia Tour brings people closer to what it is like to have dementia than any other system in existence.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are an estimated 820,000 people in the UK with dementia and only 44 per cent of people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive a diagnosis. Whilst dementia mainly affects older people, there are an estimated 15,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 who have dementia.

Glenn added: “With the current world-wide focus on dementia, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, I believe there will be a huge demand for the Virtual Dementia Tour from establishments who will see this as a means of improving the training of its staff responsible for looking after people with dementia. I also think family members and carers will be keen to sample the tour as it will give them a whole new insight into what their loved ones are experiencing.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said last month the UK government will use its presidency of the G8 to identify and agree on a new international approach to dementia research in recognition that the condition is fast becoming the biggest pressure on care systems around the world.

A specific G8 dementia summit will be held in London in September, bringing together health and science ministers alongside world-leading experts, senior industry figures and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The event will look to secure more coordination and collaboration on dementia globally.

As part of the G8 Presidency, the UK and US are exploring opportunities to advance thinking on dementia research and identify opportunities for more international collaboration. The coalition government is determined to secure and expand the UK’s position as an international hub for innovation, medical science and research and in the last 12 months has generated more than £1 billion industry and private sector investment.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Dementia is a devastating disease - not just for sufferers but for their families and friends too. And as more people live longer, it is fast becoming one of the biggest social and healthcare challenges we face.

“Families, communities, health systems and their budgets will increasingly be strained as the number affected increases and so we need to do all we can to improve how we research, diagnose and treat the disease.

“That’s why we’re using our G8 to bring together health ministers, clinical researchers and healthcare companies. If the brightest minds are working together on this then we’ve got a greater chance of improving treatments and finding scientific breakthroughs.”

Glenn Knight said: “Clearly there is a commitment from the Prime Minister to place dementia very high on the agenda. The Virtual Dementia Tour is a wonderful opportunity to improve people’s understanding of this disease and make a significant difference to levels of care.

“Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd believes so strongly in the benefits of the Virtual Dementia Tour that we would welcome the opportunity to present it to the G* loaders when they are gathered in London.”

 

More about Second Wind Dreams

Second Wind Dreams is an international non-profit organisation committed to changing the perception of aging through the fulfillment of dreams and educational programmes that help carers understand the physical and mental challenges facing those with dementia.

Founded in 1997 by award-winning geriatric specialist, P.K. Beville, M.S., the Atlanta-based organisation is recognised as the first in the United States to focus on enhancing the quality of life for elderly people and changing society’s perception by making dreams come true.  Second Wind Dreams has made thousands of dreams come true for elderly people in the United States, Canada, India, Israel and other countries around the world. Its innovative educational programmes, known as the Virtual Dementia Tour, is a scientifically proven method of training designed to build sensitivity and awareness in individuals caring for those with dementia. For more information about Second Wind Dreams visit www.secondwind.org

 

More about P. K. Beville

P.K. Beville, M.S., an award-winning geriatric specialist and founder of Second Wind Dreams, created the Virtual Dementia Tour to assist the growing number of people around the world affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

According to Beville, the alarming rise in the number of Alzheimer’s diagnoses in countries around the world means we are at a crucial time in the progression of how we care for those affected by the disease.

“The solution to Alzheimer’s today and in the foreseeable future is in developing a better and more personal understanding of the day-to-day challenges facing those with the disease. Healthcare dollars will continue to be spent inappropriately as long as we turn a deaf ear to current management of this disease.

“One of the reasons for costly long term care is that the caregivers traditionally are not given enough access to education about how to provide care to those dealing with this disease. It was this fact, along with my research on the disease, which led me to create the Virtual Dementia Tour.

“Those who have gone through the Virtual Dementia Tour® find themselves immediately identifying with their family members. The same is true for professional carers. Once they walk in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, they become more patient, more understanding and find themselves looking for solutions that do not include increased medication and expensive inpatient hospitalization.

“We are excited to work with Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd and support them in their efforts to offer the Virtual Dementia Tour to even more people. It is only by organisations such as Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd actively seeking to increase awareness of the physical and mental challenges facing those with dementia that we will move towards a day when everyone – from all walks of life – has a greater understanding of this disease.”

 

More about Training 2 Care 

Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd was formed initially to offer care providers high quality training with evidence-based training linked to QCF (NVQ). It offers HSE courses, CIEH courses, NEBOSH courses and specialist Venepuncture and Catheterisation courses. All can be delivered either in the workplace or at open dates at its fully equipped training centre in Essex.

It has rapidly evolved to offer a wide range of training initiatives including an innovative pet care programme. It trains around 200,000 a year.

Managing Director, Glenn Knight recognised an opportunity to offer the care industry training which was both cost effective and quality-driven. By placing the right people in the right roles, he has guided Training 2 Care into a business that has the financial backing and stability to reassure customers that its standards are the highest in the industry.

Training 2 Care (UK) Ltd was shortlisted for the most prestigious awards in the country (TES FE, Times Educational Supplement) and has been accredited to the National Skills Academy for Social Care.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a term that is used to describe a collection of symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication skills, and a reduction in a person's abilities and skills in carrying out daily activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and caring for self.

Memory loss - this can be one of the first symptoms that people notice. The observations people report include - noticing their loved ones forgetting things that have happened earlier in the day, getting confused about messages and who people are, getting lost whilst out and about, repeating themselves, and appearing not to be paying attention or following conversations.

Problems with communication - Some people experience problems with expressing themselves, talking and understanding things. They get confused about words and might use the wrong words for common things and mix words up. Reading and understanding written text can become problematic.

There are a number of different types of dementia the most common being Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Fronto temporal dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies.

Some people get diagnosed as having mixed dementia; this is when the presentation shows the person to have elements of more than one type of dementia.

Dementia is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. This progression will vary from person to person and each person will experience dementia in a different way. Although the person will have some of the above symptoms, the degree to which they affect an individual will vary and not all people will have all of these symptoms.

 

ENDS 

May 31 2013

Issued on behalf of Training 2 Care by PJR Communications Ltd. For further information, please contact Peter Richardson on 01206 843225 or 07778 067614. peter@pjrcomms.co.uk

 

Media contact for Second Wind Dreams is Dan Curran of Curran Public Relations on 770 685 9586. DanCurran@CurranPR.com

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