Care UK has selected the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester, as its new partner to help it invest further in its provision of care for people living with dementia.
The initial phase of the partnership sees an 18-month contract where the University of Worcester will support Care UK to build consistency, cohesion and continuous improvement into all aspects of dementia care in its 114 homes.
Announcing the launch of the partnership, Care UK’s Residential Care Services managing director, Andrew Knight, said: “We’re already known for our resourceful, compassionate and innovative approach to caring for people with dementia but we are always striving to be even better. Linking to an academic partner will help us to use the very latest in dementia research to ensure we are at the cutting edge of residential dementia care over the next decade.”
Care UK spent four months evaluating possible academic partners from universities across the UK. After narrowing it down to three, the university was chosen for its strong research base and its determination to develop a tailored programme based on a deep understanding of Care UK’s current and future dementia care services.
Andrew continued: “We were particularly impressed by the fact that the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester wanted to develop a really tailored programme which will make a difference to every member of our team from carers and housekeeping colleagues to my executive team. The two organisations also have a lot of shared values around respect, seeing people as unique individuals, and recognising the importance of our teams working closely with the family and friends of residents and other members of the community.”
Professor Dawn Brooker from the University of Worcester will lead the team of academics supporting Care UK in this venture.
Professor Brooker said: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake this work with Care UK. We were particularly impressed by the care that was taken in commissioning this dementia skills development programme. Person-centred care requires sign-up to working in this way across the whole care provider organisation if it is to be sustained over any length of time. The education programme that we are working on here supports leadership at all levels and will enable all staff to provide the best quality care for people living with dementia.”
As part of the contract with the university, Care UK has earmarked over half a million pounds to further improve the care it offers to residents living with dementia. The majority of this money will be spent on one of the most comprehensive programmes of training and awareness building that the organisation has ever embarked upon.
The implementation will be in two phases:
- Discovery phase where ADS continue to add to their understanding of Care UK by visiting homes, gauging existing levels of understanding of the latest thinking in dementia care among care home managers and to ensure that proposals are practical in operational terms.
- Training phase – this will involve building the skills, knowledge and understanding of pretty much all of the 9,000 strong workforce in the following ways:
- Workshops for the executive team on how to drive a dementia-friendly culture
- A three day courses in leading a team towards excellence in dementia care for all home managers
- The appointment and coaching of dementia champions for every home
- Dementia awareness training for every care home employee
- An ambition for every single person in the organisation to be registered as a dementia friend – including support staff such as accountants and HR specialists.
Care UK has 114 care homes in England and Scotland and has built more new care homes than any other provider over the past five years. The vast majority of homes provide care and support for people with dementia and many provide nursing care for those with advanced forms of the disease.