Dr Miroslava Hukelova recently attended two very engaging conferences on Dementia. The two events could not have been any more different, yet the discussion proved to be very similar, arriving at similar conclusions.
Dementia Quality Care conference in London
Attended mostly by practitioners and carers from across the country. Presentations ranged from hearing problems and dementia to dementia and diabetes, anger issues and dementia, swimming and dementia, and coping with grief. Representatives from a number of national organisations and charities attended the event, as well as representatives of local initiatives (including Diabetes and Dementia, Dementia Care Matters, Dementia Friendly Swimming, Grief Recovery, Dementia UK, Tibbs Dementia Foundation, National Care Forum and Four Seasons Health Care).
The conference focused primarily on improving dementia care, and the new and innovative ways in which this can be done. A real highlight was a presentation from two families affected by dementia sharing their stories and explaining what their needs were as the illness progressed. Coming from an academic rather than practitioner background this was an eye-opening experience —clearly highlighting the need for researchers and practitioners to come together and collaborate, rather than work in isolation. Crucially the message of communication and resources was echoed by most participants.
Bridging the Gap to Evidence-based Dementia Care event at the University of Bradford
With focus on Yorkshire and Humber, this event was held in the spirit of academics and practitioners coming together and sharing their experiences and needs. The focus was primarily on existing projects, and the impact these have had so far, with many stressing the positives but also the difficulties they have encountered along the way.
The event was attended by a mix of practitioners, carers and researchers from across the region with some national organisations and charities also present (TIDE, Memory Lane Café, Bradford Care Trust and many others). The message was clear, rather than working in isolation, researchers, carers and practitioners need to come together and share their best practice and support to provide the best dementia care possible. This is particularly important in the current climate where resources are scarce and there is a growing demand on those working in the field with more working hours and increasing responsibilities.
Both conferences offered an incredibly rich amount of information and showed that researchers, carers and practitioners working in the dementia field are applying joined-up thinking, coming up with solutions to some of the most pressing issues.