Hundreds of medical professionals set for meeting to share dementia expertise


More than 200 healthcare professionals from across the South West are set to explore issues around dementia.

Hosted by Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and taking place at the Steam Museum on Thursday 18 May, Making Sense of Dementia will see hundreds of clinical minds come together to learn more about the condition which currently affects one in three over 65 year olds.

Speakers from organisations across the region, including the University of Bath, Alzheimer’s Support and the Royal Voluntary Service, will be present and use the event as an opportunity to share the latest ideas, research and theories with people who care for patients every day.

Dementia is a degenerative condition which impacts everyday brain functions, such as memory, thinking ability, language, understanding and judgement.

Although medication can sometimes be prescribed to help control the side-effects of the condition, there is currently no cure and symptoms will often get worse over time.

As well as discussions around current treatments and preventative measures, the day will also look at the many alternative approaches being taken by patients and their families to help manage their diagnosis.

Guests will hear how music can play a big part in supporting a patient’s long-term memory, while also learning about the benefits of common holistic treatment options such as aromatherapy, massage and other relaxation methods.

Helen Booth, a trainer at GWH’s staff education centre, the Academy said: “This is going to be a fantastic event and one that really cements our position as a trust that’s leading the way in providing the very best care to the most vulnerable patients.

“With people living longer, the number of people being diagnosed with dementia will increase, which is why an event like this is so important.

“Having so many like-minded people together under one roof – sharing ideas, challenging what’s gone before and learning about the latest research – is something that doesn’t happen every day.

“The whole team from GWH is incredibly excited to welcome so many of our colleagues to Swindon for what we hope will be a really insightful day for all.”

Providing the very best dementia care for people in Swindon and Wiltshire has been a priority for the Trust in recent years.

A dedicated dementia-friendly ward, complete with non-shiny floors to reduce falls, as well as a host of other discrete adaptations to make hospital stays safer and more comfortable for people with the condition, opened in late 2014.

Elsewhere, the Trust also promotes the use of the This is Me passport, which provides hospital staff with important personal information about a patient such as their likes, dislikes and preferred names, and the Forget Me Not flowers which, when placed on a person’s medical notes, immediately highlights their condition to staff.

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Making Sense of Dementia takes place at 10.30am on Thursday 18 May at Steam, Firefly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EY.