Not only will the collaboration bring laughter and connection during what has been a difficult period – particularly for care home residents, their loved ones and staff working in care homes- but it will also help inform future practice. The move to online visits from Elderflower practitioners will help academics at UWS deepen their understanding of new and novel ways specialists can connect with people living with dementia in care homes.
The words I have heard used to describe visits between Elderflowers and care home residents are ‘joyful and playful’ and I completely agree. Care home staff have spoken about how well residents have been engaging through the laptop screen and how quickly a warm bond developed between the Elderflowers and the residents.
Dr Edel Roddy, Kinections Project Lead at UWS.
“I have seen how the care home staff and Hearts & Minds practitioners have been extremely open and enthusiastic in adopting to these new circumstances. I am very hopeful that we will be able to gather key learnings from this collaboration to ensure that online visits between creative practitioners and residents with dementia are meaningful and impactful for everyone involved.”
Rebecca Simpson, CEO of Hearts & Minds said: “Hearts & Minds is honoured to be working in partnership with the Kinections Project and the University of the West of Scotland. For us, creating a sense of community is vital to our delivery. Human connection is core to everything that we do and through this partnership we will be able to support learning and, in turn, develop our own delivery. As a result of COVID-19 we had to completely change the way in which we work but this partnership is enabling us to still work with people living with dementia.”
The project is another example of the pioneering work underway at University of the West of Scotland to tackle dementia. UWS is home to the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice (ASCPP) – a centre of excellence in advancing dementia policy and practice through education, applied research and social enterprise.
The latest collaboration comes after the Centre recently announced its involvement in a major new Government-funded study in partnership with The University of Edinburgh looking into understanding and reducing the psychosocial impact of social distancing on families of care home residents in Scotland.