Dementia Carer Voices Newsletter March 2017

New member of the DCV Team


I’m William Griffiths, the newest member of the DCV Team. I started three weeks ago, and have been finding my feet with the various projects the ALLIANCE run. I like working with DCV as it’s a great programme and all the days are different from one another. I will be supporting the team’s research work, blog, social media output and writing newsletters.

I attended Tommy’s talk at New College Lanarkshire and was touched by Tommy’s story and how he inspired the audience and highlighted the importance of caring in the health and social care professions.

This month I have written the newsletter for the first time. I hope you enjoy it.

You can read my bio here.


ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather speaks at SPSO event

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, spoke at the launch of the SPSO’s latest report ‘Informed Consent: Learning from Complaints’ on the 2nd March. The launch event, held in the Scottish Parliament, highlighted cases of inadequate consent procedures in Scottish hospitals and explored the context and reasons for consent not being properly obtained.

Irene spoke about failures of consent from the point of view of service users, especially situations when a person with reduced capacity may have difficulty, but all options should be explored. She highlighted the importance of consulting with the next of kin or welfare attorney of a person with dementia to discuss the person’s treatment and options of care.


She argued that the report went right to the heart of a rights based approach to health and wellbeing. Giving or refusing consent to medical treatment is an essential component of the right to autonomy, and is a key human right. Two people with exactly the same illness might make different choices about their treatment depending on what matters to them. This report can help ensure that staff, families and carers all understand the importance of consent in medical procedures.

EESC Plenary Session 22nd and 23rd February

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather attended the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Plenary Session in Brussels on the 22nd and 23rd February. There she participated in several events and discussions. Including a debate about the implications of Brexit for Scotland, Northern Ireland and London with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy group, and a discussion of the future makeup of the EESC Committee.

As the representative for Third Sector organisations in Scotland at the EESC, Irene will be writing a newsletter of her work in Brussels for the SCVO. You can also read her report from the Plenary Session here.

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Dementia Carer Voices visits Northern Ireland

Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was honoured to speak at the Nursing and Midwifery Conference in Northern Ireland and the Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland annual conference on the 8th March.

One of the audience members at the Nursing and Midwifery Conference drew a sketch of Tommy which we felt captures the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign.


The NHS WM Leadership Awards and a Poem by Dreadlock Alien

On Tuesday February 28th, our Project Engagement Lead, Tommy, was honoured to give the keynote address at the NHS West Midlands Leadership Academy Recognition Awards.

It was an inspiring event and wonderful to hear of the dedication, passion and stories from all the nominees and winners. Many thanks to Suzanne Harris Director of the WM Academy and all the team for the kind invite.


The event was hosted by ‘Dreadlock Alien’ from the West Midlands, a wandering wordsmith and poet, who brought together the story of the people and day.

After Tommy had left the stage ‘Dreadlock Alien’ presented him with this moving poem that he has written while Tommy was speaking.

This poem captured so many of the things important to Dementia Carer Voices and the work we do.


New College Lanarkshire Pledges to Make a Difference

Massive thanks to Kate Mackay, Lecturer, Clare Flynn, Head of Faculty, Lynn Orr, Craig Ruxton and Margaret Henderson for kindly inviting Tommy to speak to Senior Health and Social Care Students who attend New Lanarkshire College, Coatbridge Campus.

Tommy was joined by Kerry Ritchie from our ALLIANCE Involvement Network, Gerry Power from People Powered Health and Wellbeing and our very own Dementia Carer Voices, William Griffiths. The day was truly inspiring and full of great people from all the staff and students, as we launched the New Lanarkshire College Pledge Tree.

We look forward to hearing how the staff and students get on with the wonderful pledges below. Thank you to all for a brilliant day from all the team at DCV and the ALLIANCE.

“I pledge to always ask people about their lives and family and what they like and mater to them the most.” – Courtney Haley

“I pledge to always ask people about their lives and love stories and what and who matters to them.” – Emma

“I pledge to always listen to someone’s love story.” – Karen Fowler

All the pledges can be viewed on our blog.

If you would like to contact us or make a pledge you can by emailing or tweet us at @DementiaCarerVo

Older People in Acute Care Improvement Programme Delirium Video Links


Wednesday 15th March marked World Delirium Day. In order to raise awareness and knowledge about delirium the Older People’s Acute Care team has created a series of three videos to complement existing work on delirium care.

The videos could be used in a variety of ways to continue to raise awareness of the importance of listening to family members and to further engage a range of partners. The videos highlight three individual stories told by women of their mothers’ experience of delirium.

In addition, key messages from all three stories are reflected in separate brief video clips focused on First Signs, Causes, Experiencing Delirium and Help & Reassurance. These shorter segments could be used for teaching sessions, to generate discussion as part of presentations and at conferences and exhibitions to match the needs of individual audiences.

All these videos can be viewed on our blog here.

Missing Me by Tracey Shorthouse

This month Tracey Shorthouse contributed a poem called ‘Missing Me’. You can follow Tracey`s story via @TraceyShorty28 and find out more over on her blog.

Please read the poem here.

Future DCV events

Keep up-to-date with events DCV are attending over the next month. To find out more, see our “Get Involved” page over on our blog.

SAVE THE DATE: What matters to you day 2017

‘What matters to you? day is being held on 6 June 2017, please save the date and plan now for how you might join in on the day.


The aim this year is not only to encourage and support more meaningful conversations, but also to focus on the action that needs to happen in response to these conversations to deliver the care and support people really need and want.


Dementia Carer Voices’, Tommy Whitelaw, represents @ALLIANCEScot on the “What matters to you” steering group and has been working with carers and people with long term conditions to find out what matters to them. Take a look at our “What matters to you” case studies and podcasts.


We know from experience and evidence that the effect of focusing on what really matters to people can lead to improvements in the quality and effectiveness of what we do.  Having a better understanding of what is important to people also helps develop relationships that provide the support and help people need to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Last year, ‘What matters to you?’ day had more than 520 health and social care teams across Scotland making a special effort to have more person-centred conversations with the people they work with. In addition to this, more than 100 teams from 13 countries joined our Scottish initiative. You can read more about it in our ‘What matters to you?’ day 2016 report at:

‘What matters to you?’ day is being supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, the Minister for Public Health and Sport and the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing. They will be getting involved on the day as well as sharing messages of encouragement and good practice in the run-up to 6 June.

The Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s person-centred health and care team will also be supporting health and social care organisations practically to participate in the day by providing advice and resources through the website at

To ask questions or find out more, please contact the person-centred health and care team at

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