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This content is taken from the Newcastle University's online course, Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Because people with dementia are often older– not always– they tend to have other physical health problems, as well. And you can have a raft of people involved with somebody. And often, the professionals involved are looking at their own perspective of what’s going on. And whilst everybody is trying to do their best for the person, sometimes we do need to step back and look at everything that’s going on. So the model that often supports a person with dementia best is a needs-led model, where we’re looking at the person’s life story, their personality, their physical health, their mental health, where they are in their dementia, and also the social environment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds And it’s all of these sort of factors come together to play a very important part in how we actually achieve sort of that ultimate need for comfort for that person. Comfort care planning’s been amazing. The staff and Jack’s family have come together. And we’ve worked as a team to kind of pick out the best things and how we can deliver the best possible care and make sure it’s person-centred to Jack. And the staff and the family have been able to put that input in to create this comfort care plan for him. And now all the staff are aware because we’ve had flash meetings and things in the home.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds And all the staff are aware now of all the different things that they didn’t know about Jack beforehand. And we can kind of use them every day now to deliver the best possible care for Jack. We formulated a new comfort care plan which incorporates comfort care and end-of-life care for Jack and an end-of-life care plan for his family, as well, for their needs and expectations. We incorporated frequently asked questions, how many people can visit, if there’s any visiting times, just to kind of quash all of them rumours that it’s quite regimented. It’s not a hospital environment. It’s a home.

Skip to 2 minutes and 9 seconds They can do what they like and what they’d like support with at the end of life when Jack’s coming to the end. And so we had his needs laid out and his religious beliefs and what processes we need to go through. And then we had his family’s beliefs and what they’d like to happen and what time we can contact them, when they’d like contacted, and how much involvement in his care. Some like to be hands-on with personal care. Others like to be there to hold people’s hands. So Jack’s family were able to communicate what they would like. Only recently, since doing the comfort care plan, we found out a lot more things about Jack what we didn’t know before.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds So it was nice to come together with the family and kind of learn all these new things about Jack that we didn’t know. And I think it’s helped the family, as well, because when they’re coming in now, they’re finding it easier because we’ve all worked together to kind of draw up this plan around Jack and what his needs are. I think through having the opportunity to do comfort care planning with the care home staff that look after Jack and then share that with his family, it opened up the opportunity to have conversations of where Jack was in his dementia and what lay ahead and also how to best offer future care for him.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 seconds So conversations had already been had around, would Jack wish to be resuscitated in the future? And conversations had already been had around looking at, would it be in Jack’s best interest to be admitted to a general hospital if he had an infection? And so reviewing and reformulating care plans, speaking to his family, speaking to the care staff who help deal with his care, asking their opinion, asking what works, what doesn’t work, what can we do better, communicating what outcomes of plans. The comfort care plans, like I say, are evaluated.

Skip to 4 minutes and 9 seconds But the input that we get from families, sometimes it’s the simple things that can make the care work and that can– even if it’s sort of a specific time that somebody would like to have a little glass of sherry or a specific sock that somebody wants to wear, it really is the simple things that make the care plan.

Comfort care planning

Our healthcare professionals share their experiences of comfort care planning. They talk about using the daisy approach to structure comfort care plans. The example of Jack’s comfort care daisy was introduced in Step 2.1. This approach helps people to think about and visually represent different aspects of comfort needs. Other methods and models can also support planning to meet comfort needs.

They explain the benefits of working together with families and others involved in the person’s care to identify and meet changing needs. This can help you to make an individualised, person centred care plan which everyone caring for the person can share. In Step 2.18 we share some hints and tips for starting your own comfort care plan.

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This video is from the free online course:

Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses

Newcastle University