Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2015 Contents Dementia
Step inside a Butterfly Dementia
Care Home in the UK or Ireland
and you will find the people
working there are genuinely
transforming lives through
colour, movement, touch and stillness.
That's according to Dr David Sheard,
CEO and founder of Dementia Care
Matters, the national movement in
dementia care in the UK.
Gone are the uniforms, drug trolleys,
staff toilets, large dining rooms and other
People are no longer seen as residents
but as family; the old culture of 'them' and
'us' is swept away, says Sheard.
"Task orientation, standing around
watching people eat, and 'doing to' people
have no place in this model of care.
Detached management styles and a focus
on process belong to the malignant social
psychology of the past," says Sheard.
"Instead, people living and working
together come alive sharing their histories,
eating, laughing, and supporting each
other to recall who they were. Helping
people to be reached and connected to
whoever they now need to be."
The movement started in 1995 when
Sheard left the UK's National Health
Service after 15 years of employment.
"I won't run factories in dementia care
anymore," he said at the time.
Speaking to AAA ahead of his Australian
speaking tour in June, Sheard says he set
out with a philosophy that "feelings matter
most" and a core belief that people living
with a dementia are more feeling
beings than thinking beings.
"When you can no longer rely on
facts, logic, reason or memory,
it is your feelings and emotional
truth that you trust," he says.
Sheard's proposition is that
quality dementia care needs to
be measured in terms of peoples'
lived experience. He maintains
that policies, procedures and
systems focusing on quality of
service rather than quality of life
produce hospital-like care. This, he argues,
is far removed from the households we all
live in that bring out the best in us.
Similarly, Sheard dismisses a reliance
on "tick box training" which produces
"robotic skills and competencies".
Holding on to this model of training
limits and controls people working in
residential aged care, he says. Instead,
in his workshops people are encouraged
to connect to each other's identity and
life history; sharing their journeys and
learning about what matters most in
life. "Emotional intelligence is seen as
the primary competency in providing
emotional care," he says.
Residential aged care homes in
Sheard's model are divided into small
domestic households, with their own
front doors. People are matched in houses
at similar points along the journey to
decrease stress and increase wellbeing,
avoiding the "explosive cocktail of
muddling people all up together," he says.
Twenty years on from trialling
his model of care in the first care
home Merevale House, Butterfly
Care Homes continue to gain
momentum and are about to be
launched in Canada and Australia.
Sheard has been called "The
Marmite Man of Dementia Care"
in the UK -- you love him or loathe
him for his passionate, emotional
and uncompromising stance.
In 2014 he received the award
of Care Personality of the Year,
with the judging panel noting his "beliefs,
values, boundless energy and passion
have driven changes that to many were
only a dream."
Sheard cites data showing that in
one Butterfly Care Home the use of
neuroleptic drugs was reduced from 70
occasions to just one, over a six-month
period. Similarly, comparative weight
gain in the same group and over the same
period increased from six people to 23.
"Feeling you matter is at the core
of being a person," he says. "Knowing
you matter is at the heart of being alive.
Seeing you matter is at the centre of
carrying on in life. It is time for residential
aged care to prove that people living with
a dementia really matter most." n
David Sheard and Dementia Care Matters
director Peter Priednieks will be in
Australia from 2 to 19 June presenting
a series of talks on achieving culture
change in residential aged care. Go to
David Sheard has a passionate and uncompromising stance
on dementia care. AAA meets the instigator of the Butterfly Care
Home ahead of his Australian speaking tour in June.
key to care'
44 | MAY--JUNE2015 | AAA
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