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Families sought to take part in award-winning dementia care project in Exeter

Families affected by dementia in Exeter, Torbay and Teignbridge are being invited to take part in an award-winning programme, to help train the healthcare professionals of tomorrow and improve dementia care.

Supported by Alzheimer’s Society, the project Time for Dementia pairs families affected by dementia with undergraduate students, to better educate the students about life with dementia and the challenges that come with it. From September, the University of Exeter’s incoming Medical Imaging and Nursing students will be taking part in the programme, and are now seeking families in the area who want to make a difference to training health professionals.

Project Administrator Sii Wragg from the University of Exeter said: “Time for Dementia is a brilliant opportunity for both students and people affected by dementia. Not only will students gain valuable insights about dementia in a real life context, the families involved will also benefit from the regular visits and have the chance to make a direct impact on the future of healthcare. It’s a win-win, and we hope that many families affected by dementia will join the programme.”

Families taking part in the project are visited by a pair of students up to six times over a period of two years, with the first visit in November taking place virtually to keep families and students safe whilst the Covid-19 vaccination process is still going on. For the students, it’s designed to be different from placements in clinical settings, so they can get first-hand experience from people living with dementia and their carers in a community setting who may not be receiving formal support or care.

The innovative programme is being run in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. It started as the first of its kind in the world in 2014, across Sussex, Surrey and Kent, and has since received several awards, including the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) award in 2019 and the National Positive Practice Health Awards 2017. The roll-out in Exeter is its latest expansion.

Lauren Wonnacott, Alzheimer’s Society Project Manager for Time for Dementia, said: “We’re very pleased to work with the University of Exeter on Time for Dementia. With more than 14,900 people estimated to be living with dementia in Devon, the South West is a new important area for the project to grow in. This programme gives the students a chance to learn from the experts on dementia – the people directly affected by the condition.

“This is a fantastic way for the next generation of healthcare professionals to gain first-hand knowledge of what it’s like living with dementia. It’s therefore crucial that we find families who live in Exeter, Torbay or Teignbridge that are willing to take part, to pair them up with students and help increase awareness for dementia and its challenges.”

If you would like to know more about the programme, or you know someone with dementia and a family carer who would like to take part, please get in touch by 1st October with Kay Duffy at timefordementia@alzheimers.org.uk or call her on 07562 906116. More information can also be found at alzheimers.org.uk/timefordementia

Date: 9 August 2021

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