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Kissing it Better, Warwick

Kissing it Better is a national award-winning charity working in hospitals and care homes, primarily improving the patient experience of those with dementia. This includes offering hair and beauty therapy treatments on the wards, bringing musicians to play music and training students to talk to patients.

7 September 2016
West Midlands
Arts, Charity, Children Young People and Students, Education Sector, Health, Hospitals and Hospital Trusts, Voluntary, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Kissing it Better gives people with dementia the opportunity to take part in listening to music and receiving hair and beauty treatments, liaising with nursing staff to make sure they feel comfortable at any given time, being flexible to their needs and knowing they may change their mind about participating. All these experiences develop their sense of identity and self-esteem. In addition to this, the music acts as a reminiscence tool - drawing on well-known repertoire - to connect them with the visiting musician and other patients on the wards.

Kissing it Better provides a training programme for volunteers (including the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends training) to ensure that they can engage with patients and their relatives. This creates a dementia-friendly community where those with dementia are treated with openness and empathy.

Most recently, the Kissing it Better Hair Salon at Warwick has connected with the Universities of Stirling and Manchester who have recently concluded that haircare has an important role in the wellbeing and care of those with dementia. Our website offers practical suggestions for friends and family in ways to support the needs of those with dementia.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The challenges in implementing these aims are recruiting volunteers, and making sure they are completely engaged with the requirements of those with dementia. This is particularly important when working with younger people who are outside of their comfort zone and ensuring their own concerns do not take away from the patient's experience of the interaction we are offering them.

Also, we have to make sure to develop and maintain relationships with Warwick Hospital staff. Furthermore, we have to promote the new facility of the Salon at Warwick Hospital, which is a challenge to the constant turnover of patients and staff.

Member website


2. Actions

  • Kissing it Better Hair Salon: exploring the wider benefits of having a hair salon available to those with dementia

    - Beauty therapy students (nail technicians and hairdressers) from Warwickshire College Group provide hair and beauty services in the Kissing it Better Salon in addition to visiting the wards and offering services there also

    - Positive response, with many patients feeling "special", "loved" (their own verbal feedback) and visitors expressing appreciation for the service and the convenience it offers to them

    - Linked with the research from the Universities of Stirling and Manchester, which indicates the benefits of hair and beauty treatments for those with dementia: ‘There’s a compelling argument for raising the profile of care-based hairdressing and its contribution to living well with dementia.' (Richard Ward, University of Stirling)

    Case study

    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    New member

  • Train and develop students to engage in conversation with patients that have dementia

    - Currently working with students from Warwick Boys' School and Warwick Girls' School during their term-time. The students visit in small groups, coming once a week, between Mondays and Thursdays

    - Provide Dementia Friends sessions in addition to Kissing it Better training to prepare students for going onto the wards and responding calming to situations they are not familiar with

    - Students talk to patients on the wards, approaching them to see if they are comfortable and leaving when it is indicated they need to rest


    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    New member

  • Offering music to patients, using the music to engage with those with dementia

    - Musicians (including Chloe Knibbs from Kissing it Better on clarinet) visit the wards and offer to perform pieces of music for patients. Repertoire is developed around music that will engage with patients that have dementia such as war-songs or folk songs. Visitors are often suprised by the level of dementia their friend or relative has with the music

    - Music performances on the ward are sometimes linked with visits from school students, the music acts as an icebreaker for students to interact with the patients ie. "Did you enjoy the music?"

    - Kissing it Better has also connected with Music in Hospitals - having guitarist Tony Wille perform a touring concert of the Hospital, going around 3 wards in April earlier this year


    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    New member