The Abbeyfield Society

The Abbeyfield Society is a national charity that provides housing, support and care for people at different stages of later life. We're also a not-for-profit organisation with one mission: to enhance the quality of life for older people.

10 February 2016
Voluntary Sector

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?

The Abbeyfield Society is committed to providing high quality dementia care and support in all of our services, from independent living through to care homes. We offer housing and care options that are tailored to individual needs and aim to ensure that people are supported throughout their entire experience of dementia.

As an organisation, we ensure that all members of our team are given the right training to equip them with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to support all of our residents that have dementia. We actively share good practice and have strong links to other organisations, including the Alzheimer’s Association, My Home Life and Age UK, who influence dementia care policy and practice within the social care sector.

The Abbeyfield Society has also developed a new role this year; Head of Dementia Innovation. This individual is a thought leader and aims to ensure that the dementia services that are developing within Abbeyfield meet resident needs and facilitate person centred care.

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

One of the main barriers we have faced as an organisation is sourcing high quality training that is tailored to our needs. Our services are diverse and members of staff in small sheltered houses  and independent living complexes can often find themselves attending training that aren’t necessarily relevant to their job roles. Dementia affects residents in all our services and understanding how to spot the signs and offer appropriate support is part of everyone’s role. As such, we believe that every individual working within an Abbeyfield house or home should be given the opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding about dementia through courses that are appropriate and suitable for their role.

Another challenge is delivering high quality training throughout all of Abbeyfield due to the size of the organisation and dispersal of houses and homes throughout the country. This can sometimes make it difficult for trainers to cover wide areas and ensure that all members of staff throughout the country receive training at the appropriate level. Linked to this challenge is the additional problem that we have minimal numbers of internal trainers.

A third issue that affects us, as well as the majority of other organisations in the sector, is the overuse of antipsychotic medication in dementia. We believe that promoting the development of dementia friendly environments that aid mental and physical stimulation is key to reducing this. Evidence suggests that individuals who have dementia are often prescribed these drugs as a first resort rather than treating them as what they should be – the last step once every other avenue has been tried. We want to develop a culture that challenges this medical model of dementia and focuses on personal relationships and environmental factors as the primary methods of support rather than medication.

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2. Actions

  • Improve the Skills of the Workforce

    The Abbeyfield Society will improve the skills of our workforce by developing and delivering high quality education programs to staff across our whole range of services, wherever they are based. This year we did our first internal Dementia Awareness course that focused on raising the level of understanding within our sheltered houses. We have now developed other bespoke courses that can be used throughout all of our services and includes more advanced sessions that are specifically aimed at care staff. These are included in our larger Training Matrix.

    Another part of our action plan is to educate volunteers, family members and even residents themselves about dementia. These training sessions should facilitate the development of positive relationships and open communication between everyone in Abbeyfield houses and homes.


    2015 - Third Quarter Update

    We are currently conducting a training needs analysis.  A group of staff be meeting to review current and new resources and assess their suitability for the organisation. This is due to take place in October/November.

    2013 - Third Quarter Update

    New member