virtual reality image
Credit: Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council is funding the training of over 30 staff using virtual reality (VR) technology which replicates the experience of living with dementia, with the hopes of the care home being able to provide more person-centred care to the dementia residents.

Redfield Lodge, the only local authority home for people with dementia in Bristol, is one of a handful of care homes in Bristol to use the dementia simulator, which gives staff an insight into what life is like for people with the condition.

The aim of the training is to show staff the perspective of a person living with dementia and the simple changes that can be made to help improve their lives.

Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “With an ageing population there is always going to be a need for a skilled and compassionate care workforce. This forward-thinking technology will help staff understand the condition from a patient’s point of view, to help us deliver person-centered care with the individual at the heart of decision making.

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“Dementia and the way we provide care is changing. People are staying in their homes longer with support from our adult social care transformation programme – Better Lives. By the time residential care is required, dependency needs are usually much higher. The more we can learn about dementia, the better equipped we are to provide the right environment and care that meets the patient’s needs.”

Training involves wearing a visual simulator headset, headphones and multiple-layered gloves, whilst being instructed to undertake daily activities. All staff and managers at the care home will undertake the training.

Rahma Said, Care Assistant at Redfield Lodge, added: “The training provided a real insight into dementia and just how overwhelming everyday tasks must feel. By understanding the issues faced by a person with dementia, we can start to make simple changes to the way we care to help reduce their frustration and anxiety.”

More councils are harnessing the power of technology to improve residents’ health and wellbeing.

Recently, Rochdale Borough Council provided one of its residents, who has dementia, with grab rails, bed sensors, a property exit sensor and a falls detector so she could remain independent at home.

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