Launching the FITS into Practice dementia care programme

17th May 2022 - Written by Katy Westaway

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After a successful pilot programme, we are rolling out a new learning and development initiative designed to enable people working in care settings to deliver the best possible, personalised outcomes for people living with dementia.

The FITS (Focussed Intervention Training and Support) into Practice programme was developed by the Association for Dementia Studies at Worcester University following extensive research, and has been designed to significantly improve quality of life, opportunities and engagement for people living with dementia.

FITS uses evidence-based resources to support practice in a very hands-on way. The programme is taught by Dementia Practice Development Coaches (DPDC) who have successfully completed the masters level academic module at the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester. It is developed and evaluated in successive UK-wide research projects, and is shown to provide positive outcomes for colleagues, residents and care homes.

Stuart Wright, Dementia Care Lead and DPDC at Brunelcare worked with nine colleagues from Little Heath Care Home and Reablement Centre to support them through a pilot FITS programme. Over the course of the 9-month programme, each participant completed 10 training days, including;

  • introduction to FITS into practice and dementia care
  • person-centred approaches and the role of coaching in dementia care
  • person-centred care planning
  • meaningful occupation and action plans
  • behaviour as a communication of need
  • participated in individual and group support sessions

As part of the course, the participants translated their learning into practice. Through coaching and role modelling, they developed their colleagues’ knowledge and understanding of dementia-specific strategies.

One FITS participant said: “Having completed the FITS training, I now feel more confident to cascade the knowledge I have gained to my colleagues and promote a better understanding of dementia care.”

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that people working in care learn best from each other, rather than purely from classroom-based education. The role of the Dementia Coach is to deliver “on the job” learning and development that immediately has an impact on the quality of care and life for residents. This way of working also raises the skill, competence and confidence of those providing care and support.

On the 28th April, all nine participants were awarded their certificates of completion providing them with recognition of being a Dementia Care Coach. This enables them to support and educate colleagues around caring for people living with dementia, embedding evidence-based best practices and developing a sustainable, rights-based, person-centred culture of care.

At Brunelcare we are seeking to enhance the skill, competence and confidence of our colleagues to ensure that they are able to deliver the very best care and support. This programme will encourage colleagues to critically think and apply their learning with confidence to face a wide range of challenges.

Following on from this successful pilot FITS into Practice is due to be rolled out across all our care homes and reablement centres, and is also being adapted for community services, enabling more people working in care settings to deliver the best possible, personalised outcomes for people living with dementia.

Find out more about our dementia care by visiting our Dementia Care page.