What is a Dementia Champion?
A dementia champion is someone with excellent knowledge and skills in the care of people with dementia. They are an advocate for people with dementia and a source of information and support for co-workers. They will have an understanding of the change process from a theoretical and practical perspective. A champion is self-motivated, motivates others and acts as a role model in the delivery of person centred care. A champion is someone that has the leadership qualities and communication skills to act as a change agent.
Who can become a Dementia Champion?
Staff across all care sites who have achieved the relevant education standard and wish to further develop their skills and expertise in the area can become a dementia champion. The level 8 module will kick start or fine tune your skills as you will be required to successfully complete a change project where you work. Following completion of the module you will be supported by a national network of dementia champions who have completed the module before and from whom you may continue to learn.
Applicants should satisfy the basic educational criteria (e.g. level 5 FETAC and a leaving cert.), have the support of their manager and a track record of enthusiasm for dementia care. Most applicants will have completed the 2 day awareness programme.
Applications are encouraged from a broad range of professions and roles. We aim to attract allied health professionals and other individuals in the community who have an interest in dementia care to the programme and to encourage naturally occurring teams across acute/nursing home and community care in a given location. In general courses are organised to cluster people from a local area to build strength and depth of knowledge within that community.
Being a dementia champion means:
- Promoting ongoing culture changes in the development of best practice dementia care.
- Supporting the roll out of initiatives to improve dementia care.
- Acting as a resource and support for the person with dementia, staff and families/carers.
- Sharing best practice with colleagues.
- Advocating for the person with dementia.
- Role modelling best practice.
- Contributing towards embedding a culture of person centred dementia care.
- Taking on a leadership role in the development and enhancement of quality driven dementia care.
- Liaising with the relevant services to access the most up to date knowledge on dementia (services such as the Alzheimer’s Society the Carers society, DSIDC services and others).
- Working in collaboration with managers to develop and enhance structures/processes within the organisation to support a person centred dementia culture of care delivery.
Dementia champions can make a difference to developing dementia care. The role of the dementia champion is not an add-on to an existing role, rather it should be assimilated into it. Champions should discuss with their manager how best to achieve this.
How much does it cost?
The dementia champions programme is free to HSE employees who are approved to participate. For HSE employees, a learning contract signed with your manager committing to supporting you in the role of dementia champion will be required before an application for funding will be processed. Special rates apply to non-HSE employees.
What does the course involve?
The course involves:
- A blended learning module running over circa 12 weeks with 6 full days contact time (Dr Kate Irving).
- Portfolio based assessment.
- Small change project.
There is a strong emphasis on translation of theory into practice in the programme which covers the breadth of dementia from diagnosis to palliative care, in the community and in residential settings.