Ensuring each home has its own Dementia Champion…

Chris Elsley started working for CHS as a part time carer at Moorlands Court in 2008. After finding an interest in dementia care she put together a specialised programme for the residents at Moorlands. After seeing the success and benefits for staff and residents alike, Chris decided she wanted to specialise further, and went to study for a diploma in dementia studies at Bradford University.

In 2011 CHS appointed Chris as Lead Practitioner in dementia care. She now runs dementia training for all staff, leads dementia support groups for families of CHS residents and others affected by the disease and provides up to date information regarding treatment and care for people with dementia.

Chris has introduced a number of different initiatives for the provision of dementia care and ensures each residence has its own dementia champion, someone who takes extra steps to improve residents’ care. She also runs ‘dementia friends’ sessions in order to inform as many people as possible and to help prepare families before their relatives progress with the disease.

As part of their training, all staff within CHS group now take part in a ‘virtual dementia tour’ in order to better understand the disease and the behaviour of those living with symptoms. Chris recently took the steps to extend this experience to families of those with relatives living with dementia at CHS care homes, helping them gain insight and better interact with loved ones. It also enables relatives to understand the disease from a carer’s perspective, allowing all parties to work together harmoniously.

Chris continually develops her knowledge and understanding of dementia and keeps up to date with the latest research and has introduced a number of different therapies and initiatives including doll therapy and ‘This is Me’ documents. She is also currently in the process of introducing dementia massage.