Dementia Singapore (formerly known as Alzheimer’s Disease Association) has launched a new competency-based certification programme, Support Persons Living With Dementia. Consisting of three modules, the course aims to impart the knowledge and skills necessary to support people living with dementia, in a variety of settings, residential and otherwise.
The first module focuses on applying person-centred care; the second is on activities which maximise autonomy and promote well-being; and the third is on developing and implementing techniques which minimise the impact of changed behaviour.
One of the facilitators for the course is Ms Koh Hwan Jing, Head of Academy at Dementia Singapore. An Occupational Therapist, Ms Koh has worked with nursing homes to implement Person-Centred Care, and has recently been involved in the evaluation of care environments in nursing homes using Dementia Care Mapping.
Another facilitator will be Ms Cai Suqi, a registered social worker with extensive experience in both acute and community settings. She is the Programme Manager (Community Support Programme) of the Dementia Singapore Care Support Services and played a critical role in the development of the Eldersit Respite Care Services.
Ms Lim Sok Hwee, a registered Social Worker who has practised in both acute and community settings, will also share her expertise at the course. At the Care Support Services, Sok Hwee supports persons with dementia and their caregivers through behavioural management and caregiving support.
On efforts made so far in Singapore to support persons with dementia, Ms Cai notes: “More efforts have been seen these days to increase the awareness of dementia in the community. Campaigns, such as Forget Us Not, and AIC’s Dementia-Friendly Singapore movement are some good initiatives in the community to be more inclusive for persons living with dementia.”
This programme is designed for professional staff, including nurses, allied health professionals, social workers and counsellors, who are involved in developing care plans, planning activity programmes for persons living with dementia, and supporting direct care staff to manage challenging behaviours. To this end, Ms Cai shares that it is key to adopt a person-centred approach in understanding the behaviour of concern. “Many of the behaviours of concerns have reasons, or are ways of communication by persons living with dementia,” she said, “These reasons require us to find out more from their perspective and to adapt our approach accordingly to help fulfil their needs.”
“Working in dementia care is interesting and there is always new learning due to the changing needs of dementia,” Ms Cai added, “When working with persons with dementia, it is important to be flexible and also looking at changes that are within your control. This would help manage your expectations and also allows you to adapt to new changes in behaviours as the dementia condition progresses.”
“Support Persons Living With Dementia” will be conducted through a combination of e-learning and classroom sessions, on Wednesday, 25 August, Thursday, 26 August, Wednesday, 1 September and Thursday, 2 September, from 9am to 5pm at the Dementia Singapore Academy. Register online by Wednesday, 11 August 2021.
You can download the brochure and register at dementia.org.sg/support.