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Hospice staff take part in successful dementia care home exchange

16 December 2014
  • Education, Learning & Development Facilitator at East Cheshire Hospice, Jim Cunningham, has organised the exchnage scheme

East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield has partnered with one of the largest care home providers in the UK to introduce a scheme in which hospice and nursing and care home staff exchange care environments for a period of two weeks.

Working with Barchester Healthcare, the scheme aims to introduce employees to a new environment, work practices, patients and residents. It is hoped this will help dispel myths and reduce anxieties about both palliative and end of life care and caring for people with dementia.

Organised by hospice charge nurse Jim Cunningham, who oversees the hospice’s education and learning programmes, the scheme has already proved popular with colleagues keen to keep their learning up to date.

Jim explained: “It’s an exciting development for us at the hospice; our colleagues at Marple Dale Care Centre are equally as excited.”

“We are confident we offer top level care for patients with dementia but recognise there is always more to learn to improve care further.”

“There are constant new developments in relation to dementia; we want to ensure we are at the forefront of this. This programme will help us share our expertise and knowledge with others and help us learn from their experiences in working with people who are affected by dementia."

Adding: "We are looking forward to this initiative being successful and hope to increase the organisations we work with as it develops in the future.”

Four of the hospice’s staff volunteered to join the scheme following a 'Dementia and the Myths' introductory session at East Cheshire Hospice. 

They work in teams of two with each pair spending two days on placement at the Marple care home. Staff from the hospice and care home dementia unit swap roles and shadow their counterparts.

Evaluations have concluded this was a very worthwhile exchange. 

One member of staff from Barchester Healthcare was surprised by the number of services on offer at the hospice: "We didn’t know ECH hospice provided all those services; what an amazing team; It is such a vibrant place to work in."

And one of the volunteers from East Cheshire Hospice who took part in the exchange, added:"Dedicated staff working with passion; learnt new techniques in managing behaviour; very client centred."

To find out more about the project, please contact: jcunningham@echospice.org.uk

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