Trust first in UK to adopt the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care for people with Dementia

Two Trust members of staff are the first NHS staff in the UK to become Certified Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) trainers.

Two members of Trust staff have become the first NHS staff in the UK to become Certified Positive Approach to Care (PAC) trainers.

The Positive Approach to Care model provides techniques and training models, which supports families and professionals working or living with people with dementia or other brain changes.  

The two trained members of staff, Susannah Thwaites, clinical specialist and Clare Jones, occupational therapist; are now busy sharing their

Teepa Snow, who developed the Positive Approach to Care model has over 35 years of experience and is one of America’s leading educators on dementia, she is known internationally, and has recently started training in the UK and Australia. 

Susannah Thwaites, clinical specialist, said: “We first became aware of Teepa Snow from her YouTube clips and were impressed with the practical skills she shares with care partners and the unique style in which she develops understanding, knowledge and skills in others. Teepa combines a vast knowledge of dementia, person-centred care and the latest evidence, to come up with very practical strategies that help care partners know what to do and say to support the person with dementia during common challenging situations.”

Clare Jones, occupational therapist, added: “Ultimately the core principles of the approach are that people living with dementia are always doing the best that they can, given the changes that are occurring within their brains.  Therefore, we as carers have to gain an understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, and recognise the different stages. Being more dementia aware, knowledgeable and skilled, we can then be ready to change or adapt our care approach in order to engage positively with the person living with dementia  and help them to live life well within the most appropriate setting.”

As well as teaching the use of the Positive Physical Approach™ and Hand under Hand™ technique, Susannah and Clare have been sharing the GEMS™ model, based on cognitive disability theory and the Allen Cognitive Levels. This is a concept where people living through the different stages of dementia are viewed as precious gems: sapphire, diamond, emerald, amber, ruby and pearl.  Each gem has its own unique qualities, strengths and needs and can shine given the right care in the right setting.  Occupational therapists in older people’s services across the Trust were already using the Allen Cognitive Levels and the GEMS™ model has added a new dimension to enable others, such as professional colleagues, carers and families alike, to understand changing abilities.

Both Susannah and Clare agree that the response to the training has been really positive. Trust staff that have been trained in the approach have included nurses, health care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians, speech and language therapists, housekeepers, and students.