The Devon Care Kitemark, a group of care homes across Devon working in collaboration to improve care across the county, hosted a Devon Dementia Conference at Exeter Racecourse. Supported by Southern Healthcare and Hay House, the conference brought together eminent speakers in the field of Dementia care. The event attracted over 175 attendees, made up of healthcare professionals and families who are affected by or involved in dementia.
Managing Director – Southern Healthcare, Geoffrey Cox gave a welcome address and introduced high-profile speakers including Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector – Care Quality Commission and Norman McNamara – Founder, Purple Angel. The conference, believed to be the first of its kind in the county, was specifically designed to attract families and relatives, as well as people with a Dementia. Delegates learned more about supporting people with the condition and types of support networks both local and national via a combination of presentations and workshops.
The Dementia conference was supported by Southern Healthcare, an independent healthcare provider with four care homes across Devon. Having recently opened a new specialist dementia community at their Exeter-based care home, The Old Rectory, Southern Healthcare have been developing their dementia care and training to give even better care to those residents who have a dementia, as well as other complex needs.
Geoffrey Cox – Managing Director, Southern Healthcare and member of the Devon Care Kitemark said: “This was a really exciting conference, with those involved kindly giving their time to help support those affected by a dementia and delivering really positive messages. Dementia care is improving, and our understanding of the condition is advancing. It is important, therefore, that we share our knowledge with those who are affected by and living with the condition.” He added: “We need to raise awareness, break the stigmas and ensure that people with a dementia are informed and able to live the best and most fulfilling lives possible, whether that be at home, with home care or in a specialist care home.”
The conference sought to provide useful information on a range of messages about helping and supporting people and encouraging collaborative work. The focus was on breaking down the boundaries between healthcare professionals, and the people who are actually affected by, and living with the condition.
Andrea Sutcliffe – Chief Inspector, Care Quality Commission said: “I’m really heartened by the efforts of people within Devon to come together, to share good practice and to learn from each other. Also to really think about how they can support the people that they are providing services for, better than they are now. I want to encourage that, and want to be positive about that.” She added: “I think it’s really good that we are talking about these things now, we’ve not got the same stigma attached to it, but I think we need to do even more. There’s still a lot of fear around dementia which I think is understandable, but what I think we should be doing is trying to be much more positive about what we can do, and support people to do that.”
George Coxon, Chairman of the Devon Care Kitemark concludes: “Our conference had the aim of bringing likeminded and enthusiastic people together to inform, reassure, and inspire others living and working with dementia. Sharing positive messages about the care and support available and how people can, and do have, safe; fun; stimulating; active and independent lives even in the later stages of the condition.”