Before we can go out to help the people we support, everyone has to finish their training, including training in dementia care.
All Care & Support Workers are given support to do additional mandatory training in dementia with the University of Stirling. The training lasted six months; bringing us together to learn and to share case studies and difficult situations we had faced so that we could work out how best to approach this in the future.
It really boosted my confidence. If you don't understand dementia, and I didn't, you don't appreciate the severity of it and how it affects people. Only when I had my training did I discover how much there is to learn and how much it is needed to help people. It taught me what the dementia was doing to the person, how I could diffuse a difficult situation and calm them down and work out what they wanted or what they meant.
The training has helped me to go that extra step, which I always aim to do. The training also covered supporting partners - many people don't realise the impact on them, too. One husband, who had been the main carer for ages, was so worn down he could barely get the key in the door. The respite we could offer him meant he was able to keep going.