The general meeting on 23rd November saw a record number of attendees, with 62 delegates from 38 organisations including several Care & Support West Commercial partners. The speakers were excellent; Debbie Sorkin delivered an excellent presentation on leadership, Glen Knight who gave a demonstration on the Virtual Dementia Tour and Emily Hancock told us about Join Dementia Research.  

Debbie referred regularly to the latest CQC "State of Care 2016" report which emphasises the importance of leadership in the difficult market conditions facing the sector. Building on this Debbie talked about the turbulence the sector is facing, the need for new styles of management and described the emerging Systems Management theory as a valuable approach to  uncertainty and change. She argued that the Care sector is well poised to lead the way as a vanguard for this, because turbulence is endemic to the industry. The reasons that it works are that it is a collaborative approach based on networks, based on participation and shared endeavour rather than hierarchies. It makes Leadership everybody's business. She gave as an example of good practice the "Advanced Care in Care Homes" initiative in Wakefield which you can download.

The Leadership Qualities Framework and the Social care Manager's Hand Book is freely available from the Skills for Care website. Here is link to the Importance of Leadership update from Skills for Care.

The Virtual Dementia Tour presentation was fascinating; Glen demonstrated using a volunteer what happens when you start to lose your senses. Check out his website. Read the Daily Mail article. Over 40 people put their name down to attend the free tour that he is offering C&SW. Watch out for details....

The West of England Join Dementia Research Officer, Emily Hancock, visited the Care and Support West AGM in late November to deliver a presentation about the benefits of signing up to the Join Dementia Research register.

The Join Dementia Research register is an NHS/NIHR initiative designed to increase awareness of and participation in research for people with dementia. All can join, whether healthy or diagnosed with dementia, and once registered have the choice to participate in available research in the locality.

The Join Dementia Research register is supported by government funding (the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020) that aims to make the UK the best place in the world to undertake clinical research into dementia and the best country in the world for dementia care and support - urgently needed now that dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Accompanying Emily was Hilary Doxford, a Join Dementia Research Champion, who has dementia. Hilary spoke movingly about the feelings of fear and helplessness that surrounded her initial diagnosis, which have been improved by her decision to take part in clinical research.

Hilary said, “[now I take part in research] I am aware of the latest results, I am well looked after and it keeps my brain active…. and, just maybe, I will be one of the lucky ones who is part of the trial that finds the cure.”

Emily and Hilary encouraged members of the Care and Support West audience to promote the scheme to staff and to service users.

Join Dementia Research is supported by Alzheimer Scotland, Alzheimer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society. Visit the website: www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/ to join, either for yourself or on behalf of someone else.