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Personalisation and Dementia. A guide for person-centred practice

  • Comments (2)

Title: Personalisation and Dementia. A guide for person-centred practice

Authors: Helen Sanderson and Gill Bailey

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014

Reviewer: Jane Brocksom, urology/continence nurse specialist, St James Hospital

What was it like?

A refreshingly readable book, feels and looks like a text book but reads like a supportive coaching manual. Very in-depth but that doesn’t distract from the clarity of the writing style.It is so well written. The first three chapters set the scene, and each chapter follows in a succinct format. The opening of each chapter explains its intention – using real lived stories to present information and a more personal approach, while offering explanations and additional reading material. The references are in-depth, up to date and appropriate. Figures and diagrams are used throughout to explain and give examples.


Contents include – personalisation and people living with dementia knowing the person: one-page profiles; matching staff and clarifying responsibilities; acting on what is working and not working; further reflection, learning and action; putting it all together; getting stared and progress for providers.

What were the highlights? 

Too many highlights really including – “one-page profiles”, “personalisation” and “person centred practices” because they have resonance across all spheres of Nursing. They make you sit up, think and reflect on your own work.

Chapter 5 ”matching staff and clarifying responsibilities” is my highlight. Suggesting how matching staff characteristics with persons living with dementia, develops a win-win relationship. So obvious but I suspect a neglected area, is this a subject for further research?

The appendix allows readers to use the self-assessment tool and get started – an emphasis is placed on energy, commitment and involvement with training and support, not  just money, to provide safe, dignified and quality person-centred care.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I don’t have any weaknesses with this book. I just hope that it is made accessible and readily available. One page profiles take care planning to a new dimension; they are not just a paper exercise but a real tool to use to improve care for people living with dementia. Plus dare is I say for long term elder care facilities.

An insightful and enlightening read. A big well done to the authors.

Who should read it?

I would like to see everyone involved in elder care have access to a copy of this book. That’s not just care staff, but non-care support staff too. It will be appropriate across all levels of nursing from NVQ support staff to ward managers and service providers.

To use a quote from the book “A one-page profile therefore is the foundation of personalisation without this information people are likely to be treated as a clinical condition – and their dementia will always be seen first”.

  • Comments (2)

Readers' comments (2)

  • David Dickinson

    Does it mention about how to check a patient at night without disturbing them? The first thing I look for when agency working is how this is done and it is done badly, everywhere. Corridor lights left on whilst bedroom doors constantly opened streaming light in then main lights flicked on-and-off on the hourly check and on during the two hourly check whilst any incontinent pads are changed! I use a wonderful hi-tech device unclipped from my bike for the purpose. Its called a torch.
    £10 says its unmentioned.
    Elderly people need mediterranean diets not duphalax and to get up. Many need the adult equivalent of infant "bouncers" and self-propelled "walkers" to continue experiencing the world whilst promoting and maintaining independent movement. "Bed-ridden" people need to feel the breeze on their faces. They need sunshine, not Allendronic Acid. I do not want to spend my last eighteen months lying in bed wondering where and when my next pressure sore is going to develop.

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  • Anonymous

    we had torches on our ward at night. they are very useful for shining in patients' faces to test whether they are asleep or not! The only problem was that the day staff sometimes forgot to order spare batteries. but shouting at the patient to ask if they are awake is quite effective too and often you can then wake them up to get an answer from them! If they don't respond you know they are either asleep, or have slipped into a coma, or worse, in which case you could shine a pencil torch into their eyes and check their pupil reactions. you could also make a clatter testing their BP and yell instructions at them to move their limbs - if no response but they were still breathing and you could feel a pulse then you could go and wake up the doctor, using if necessary, similar procedures. there are quite a lot of options open to nurses really to check whether patients are sleeping or not. If they don't complain the next morning you know you have not disturbed their sleep and if the doctor appears with a smile on his face you didn't disturb his either!

    If we needed to do something where a torch was not enough we usually drew the curtains round the bed and switched on the bedside light but we did try to angle them to give minimum disturbance to the other patients unless they were restless too in which case it didn't matter.

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