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Embracing touch in dementia care. A Person-Centred Approach to Touch and Relationships

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’This book is about making the culture of care more person-centered by developing their understanding of touch’

Title of book: Embracing touch in dementia care. A Person-Centred Approach to Touch and Relationships

Author: Luke J Tanner

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers 

Reviewer: Margot Lindsay, Associate Staff, Division of Psychiatry, University College London

What was it like?

Meaningful touch is an essential part of truly person-centred dementia care, yet its value is often viewed as secondary to its perceived risks. This book restores trust in the power of touch, demonstrating the vital role it plays in supporting personhood, relationships and wellbeing, and challenging the barriers preventing staff from using touch in meaningful ways. The draws on personal experiences of relationships that have been created and sustained in and through different ways of being in touch.

What were the highlights?

Luke Tanner has discovered a profound and deep appreciation of the use of touch to sustain and regain human connection through all stages of dementia. He uses his knowledge and skill to help others develop new awareness, knowledge, and ability. He provides practical and effective strategies to guide individual staff in partnering with individuals living with dementia through structured personal learning opportunities. He demonstrates that touch and other forms of non-verbal communication are essential for ‘being with’ and not just ‘doing to’ people living with dementia, and explains how and when to use touch effectively in everyday interactions, and in all stages of dementia. He places touch in the context of consent and safeguarding, while emphasising the need for positive attitudes to touch to be at the heart of care cultures.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

This practical guide will enable practitioners to reflect on their own use of touch and develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to place meaningful touch at the heart of their work. It helps to ensure that touch takes its rightful places as integral to person-centred care. It challenges the reader to explore their current practice, thoughts, and feelings about the experience of touch and relationships in dementia caregiving. Readers are encouraged and supported with practical examples and exercises they can use with their colleagues, to explore the wide variety and symbolism of the types of touch we experience daily as human beings, and its relevance and importance to our wellbeing and sense of self. This book is about restoring touch and identifying and removing the obstacle that stop human beings from being human to each other.

Who should read it?

Luke’s work supports authentic person-centred dementia care culture training!

Care providers will always run into trouble if they begin to trust specialist interventions, technologies and professional techniques more than basic human skills. This book is about making the culture of care more person-centered by developing their understanding of touch. It addresses a range of subjects related to the meaning, use and effects of touch in the context of everyday life as well as professional dementia care settings.




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