Dementia Carer Voices December 2017 Newsletter

Many thanks for a great year from the Dementia Carer Voices Team

The Dementia Carer Voices Team would like to say a huge thank you to all the people we have met, spoken with, and received pledges from in 2017. It’s been a great year for the project and it would not have been possible without all the wonderful people who support our project by making and fulfilling their pledges, sharing their stories and reading about Dementia Carer Voices. A massive thank you to each of the over 17,000 people who have made personal pledges since this project started.

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather and UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, reported on 12 December to Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt MSP, at her offices in the Scottish Parliament They shared our latest publication with her and showed her our brand new flyer.

ALLIANCE - DCV - Maureen Watt

Next on the agenda was a catch up with another great friend of the project, Jackie Baillie MSP, who supported our stand in Parliament, our publication launch event and continues to support Dementia Carer Voices and the ALLIANCE more widely.

ALLIANCE - DCV - Jackie Baillie

In this, the final newsletter of 2017, we look back on a busy, successful year for Dementia Carer Voices. There are so many stories we could have chosen and tales we could have told, but we hope the below gives you a taster of all the great work that’s happened in 2017. We look forward to 2018!

Many thanks all from the Dementia Carer Voices Team.

Irene Oldfather, Tommy Whitelaw, Laura McCulloch and William Griffiths

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Publication and Week in the Scottish Parliament

Dementia Carer Voices launched our flagship publication – Dementia Carer Voices: Rights and the Carer Voice – during a week of events and activity at the Scottish Parliament. With a stand at Parliament we were honoured bring the story of the 16,000 health and social care staff and students the project has spoken to to MSPs.

ALLIANCE - DCV - James Kelly and Irene Oldfather

Our new report was launched at an event in the Scottish Parliament attended by MSPs, people with dementia and their carers, nurses, care staff and policy professionals. In addition, a Member’s Business debate tabled by James Kelly MSP built on the work of the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and Their Carers and linked it to the work of our ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign.

The publication analysed 6,000 of the 16,000 personal pledges the campaign has received to date and explored the key thing people say they will do to make a difference and the barriers they face. The findings revolved around the importance of moving away from a time and task oriented care and emphasising care and compassion in health and social care services.

You Can Make a Difference Campaign

The last year has been a particularly busy time for Dementia Carer Voices, having now engaged with over 95,000 people over the course of 667 talks. Dementia Carer Voices’ ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign has now collected over 17,000 pledges from health and social care professionals, students, and members of the public who are committed to making a difference to people with dementia and their carers.

ALLIANCE - DCV - Nurse and Pledge Tree

Case study from 2017: Glasgow Housing Association

There are so many wonderful case studies we could have chosen from the colleges, hospitals, universities and care homes we have visited, but we have chosen a case study from the Glasgow Housing Association. UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw attended the GHA head offices in Cardonald and worked with staff, residents and volunteers to create a Pledge Tree encouraging reflection on what matters to them and what they will do to make a difference.

ALLIANCE - DCV - GHA Pledge Tree

Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands and local MSP, attended the launch of the Pledge Tree alongside Dementia Carer Voices. It’s great for Dementia Carer Voices to work not only with health and social care staff and students, but to engage with the wider community to raise awareness of dementia. This follows on from work last year with Humza Yousaf MSP on Dementia Carer Voices’ Friendly Communities Pledge Trees in Pollok.

Working in partnership with CNO Scotland

In partnership with the Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland (CNO Scotland), Fiona McQueen, Dementia Carer Voices has engaged all first year nursing students in Scottish universities and colleges. At some of these talks the project has been accompanied by CNO Scotland herself, Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor for Person-Centred Care and Improvement, Karen Goudie, Excellence in Care Lead for CNO Scotland and Gillian McAuley, Chief Nurse, Wishaw Hospital to highlight the key messages from the Scottish Government.

As part of the work with CNO Scotland UK Lead Tommy Whitelaw has also created a film with NHS 24 to encourage values based reflective practice among their staff and service users.

Through this partnership with the CNO Scotland, UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, travelled had a five-day tour of the Western Isles, has returned to encourage further reflection on the pledges from the initial visit and a further visit is planned for the beginning of 2018.

Dementia Carer Voices has also been working closely with NHS Lanarkshire on staff induction days, quality improvement sessions and a series of events across the Health Board in the New Year. Look out for our work in 2018 with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire.

Turning pledges into action with Leading Change, Adding Value

UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, has been working throughout 2017 to embed pledges into practice using the model of Leading Change, Adding Value – a framework every nursing, midwifery and care professional. Tommy also worked with NHS England to produce a film aimed at driving quality improvement in the health and social care system.

What Matters to you Day?

Dementia Carer Voices was honoured to sit on the ‘What Matters to You? Day’ Steering Group and to interview the Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison MSP about what matters to her to mark the day and encourage person centred care.


Read all about our work on What Matters to You? Day itself on our updated website.

UK and European Engagement Activity

This year has also marked some great work with partners across the wider UK and across Europe. UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, spoke at a panel event at the Northern Irish Assembly at Stormont. He highlighted the important role that carers play in looking after people with dementia and how there needs to be greater support available for carers of people with dementia. Films made by UK Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, have also been shared across the UK in order to share good practice and encourage values based reflective practice.

The project has worked with partners across Europe, through Director, Irene Oldfather’s role as Third Sector representative to the European Economic and Social Committee (the EESC), to influence the policy agenda and ensure people with dementia have a central role in a post-Brexit world. On World Alzheimer’s Day, Irene Oldfather raised the importance of working across borders to share good practice in ensuring quality services in a speech in Brussels. She has worked closely with the European Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, to emphasise the importance of working across borders to combat dementia.

ALLIANCE - DCV - EU Commissioner for health

Office closes over Christmas

The ALLIANCE office will be closed over the festive break. The office closes on Friday 22 December and reopens on Wednesday 3 January 2018.

Should you require support in during the break, please see the help and support page on our website or contact:


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