Dementia Care

A meeting between Mrs Rose (care provision manager) and Peter (caregiver).

Situation: Mrs Rose has invited Peter to her office to discuss his knowledge of care for residents with dementia. Mrs Rose is keen to develop Peter further with specific professional training within the subject area. Through a process of questioning and inviting Peter to share his thoughts, Mrs Rose is able to determine that Peter would be a good candidate for the training.

Audio: Listen to the audio file here.

Grammar points:

Narrative tenses

Persons: Mrs Rose (care provision manager) and Peter (caregiver)

Location: The meeting place takes place in the office of Mrs Rose at the Bridge street nursing home.

Mrs Rose: I had been thinking about upgrading the training of certain staff in the nursing home, particularly in dementia care. During a recent management meeting John Perry suggested that you were well equipped for this kind of training, and keen to develop your career. How do you feel about this as an idea?
Peter: I’m quite flattered really, as I’m not sure why John would think that. I was working quite closely with Terry before he passed away, and I still provide Carol with a lot of support.
Mrs Rose: How do you feel about working with residents that have dementia, at its various stages?
Peter: I don’t mind admitting that I struggled a little at the start, I may even have been a little impatient with some residents. However, as I interacted more with Terry, things became easier.
Mrs Rose: What do you mean by that?
Peter: I think I developed a better understanding of his needs. I wasn’t expecting him to understand everything all of the time, as I did before.
Mrs Rose: Was there anything in particular that changed your perspective?
Peter: Yes, there was. I had been feeding Terry one lunch time, when he started spitting his food back out. He refused to eat anymore food and he returned to his room. Around a week later one of the nurses told me that he had undergone some emergency dental treatment and this was the reason he was refusing food.
Mrs Rose: So how did that change things for you?
Peter: I realised that Terry had a problem in communicating his needs. I had been expecting Terry, like other residents, to tell me when things were wrong or uncomfortable for him.
Mrs Rose: I know that you became quite important to Terry, so what other things did you do to support him?
Peter: I think some of the normal things. I made sure that Terry had certain jobs to do around the nursing home, to give him a sense of routine.
Mrs Rose: What kind of jobs?
Peter: It sounds trivial when you say it, but I had arranged with the kitchen to let Terry take the bins out after meals, just to the side of the nursing home. He seemed to enjoy the responsibility and it meant he always had a chat with the kitchen staff.
Mrs Rose: That sounds like a good idea. Was there anything else?
Peter: I used to talk to him about his family and his past life, he’d been in the Navy you know? Anyway I found out that he had enjoyed cooking, well baking actually, before he came to the nursing home. So I organised for him to bake in the kitchens, not often, but enough to keep him engaged.
Mrs Rose: How did that go?
Peter: His baking was excellent and he could remember all of the recipes, however he used to forget where all the kitchen utensils were. This made him a little anxious and, well, embarrassed I think. One day I took photographs of the insides of the cupboards, printed them out and stuck them to the fronts of the cupboards. They’re still there in fact.
Mrs Rose: Did that help?
Peter: Yes, it did. Terry became far more confident, even though I know he still had to look at the pictures
Mrs Rose: It sounds to me as though were quite a help to Terry. What do you think are the most important aspects of care are for residents with dementia?
Peter: I had been reading a book on dementia care when Terry was around, though unfortunately I never finished it. I think I remember some of the main points though.
Mrs Rose: OK what are they?
Peter: One thing is to create a regular routine in a relaxed environment, which I think I did with Terry and the bins. Keeping people involved in everyday tasks is important, though I know that can become more difficult as the illness progresses. I also tried to avoid being critical with Terry, and I created the memory aids for him in the kitchen. It’s also really important to monitor diet and nutrition, as a bad diet can lead to other illnesses. Dementia sufferers may also need additional support with personal hygiene. I guess the other thing that worked with Terry was to have a sense of humour. There were moments when he could be really witty and he always enjoyed my silly jokes.
Mrs Rose: Well I have to say Peter I am very impressed with your commitment to looking after Terry, not to mention our other residents. So my question is whether or not you would like to consider taking up this training opportunity?
Peter: I’d be delighted to. When does it start?
Project number: 543336-LLP-1-2013-1-DE-KA2-KA2MP - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.