Orchard Care Homes has launched Dementia Promise, a new initiative aimed at shifting attitudes towards dementia care across the UK.
The provider’s Dementia Promise aims to:
- Remove conscious and unconscious stigma associated with dementia.
- Encourage others across the sector to stop using derogatory, blaming language.
- Promote genuine collaboration and provide people with dedicated communication lines with a dementia specialist, regardless of whether they use Orchard’s services.
Orchard’s designated dementia communities, Reconnect, are also expanding as part of this Dementia Promise. A higher staff ratio within these communities means staff spend more time with residents, reducing anxiety and distress levels. According to Orchard, this has led to a decline in safeguarding referrals and the use of psychotropic medications.
Orchard is encouraging others across the care sector to follow suit and take steps to change the language used in care. For example, recognising that people live in communities rather than ‘units’, and re-phrasing diagnoses to end the usage of words such as ‘challenging’ and ‘aggressive’. Instead, the group encourages use of more positive language to remove negative images of those living with complex dementia who communicate via their behaviour.
Hannah Miller, dementia lead at Orchard Care Homes, said: “Frequently, vulnerable people are referred to care homes by external partners using language that describes them in predominantly negative terms – challenging, aggressive, and so on. This language lays the foundations of how the person is seen and thus initiates negative thinking about them from the outset. This needs to change across the sector.”
“Through its commitment to on-going changes in dementia care, the group, which is now fully digital, has committed to training every colleague in three levels of bespoke, evidence-based training; and continues to increase investment in technology, recruitment, and care home environments.
“Our Dementia Promise aims to break the mould of what care home life has become across the country and sets out to ensure people’s care and support is firmly grounded in who they are and their abilities. This contrasts with common practices which often focus on inabilities and blanket risk mitigation. Through our initiative, we seek to enable life to be as normal as possible for people - with them being encouraged to thrive and live life to the full.”