LILY PINS WORKING WITH THE DEMENTIA ACTION ALLIANCE
The Dementia Action Alliance brings together organisations across England committed to transforming the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Lily Pins is one of those organisations.
There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK. It costs the UK economy £23 billion a year and can ruin the lives of people living with it and those that care for them.
The Dementia Action Alliance is a movement with one simple aim: to bring about a society-wide response to dementia. It encourages and supports communities and organisations across England to take practical actions to enable people to live well with dementia and reduce the risk of costly crisis intervention.
At a national level the DAA has begun to shape policy and attitudes. Locally they galvanise action by coordinating and supporting Local Dementia Action Alliances.
Organisations become a member by signing up to the National Dementia Declaration and submitting a short action plan setting out how they are delivering the outcomes described in the Declaration. This plan is then published on the DAA website.
How the Dementia Action Alliance Operates
The DAA is supported by a Secretariat funded through voluntary financial and in kind contributions from members. It is hosted by the Alzheimer's Societyand works to a programme agreed by the whole membership and people living with dementia and their carers who attend our sessions.
Separate to this Declaration, each signatory organisation, such as Lily Pins, has set out what it intends to do by 2014 (the date when the current National Dementia Strategy comes to an end) in order to deliver better quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers.
How Did Lily Pins Satisfy the Strict Criteria to join the DAA?
In order to join the DAA, Jennifer Twigg, MD of Lily Pins was first asked to describe Lily Pins’ role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers:
The service provided by Lily Pins offers clients living with Dementia a completely purpose-made service. We recognize that our clients’ families and carers want to maintain their loved ones identity and appearance. We also recognize how comforting it can be for our clients to look in the mirror and recognize themselves.
If a client is unable to express to us their preferences, we build a portfolio with the help of a family member (and old photographs), enabling our hairdressers to provide the best possible service. In keeping with our clients’ preferences we strive to raise the self-esteem of people living with Dementia.
Our staff are specifically trained and talented in using both verbal and non-verbal communication relative to our client’s ability.
Lily Pins offers ‘drop in’ taster days, free of charge, to Dementia Day-Centres and Residential Centres. The days we have offered in the past have been hugely successful and a scheme that we would love to offer nationwide.
Jenny is a regular volunteer at The Alzheimer’s Society’s “Memory Cafes” and plans to join forces with the industries best recognized organisations to campaign together to promote awareness and understanding of the needs of people living with Dementia.
Jenny was then asked what the main challenges Lily Pins faced in delivering these outcomes:
As the only company of its kind currently within the UK, we campaign to get the care sector to acknowledge the importance of Dementia trained & experienced, outside service providers. But it is often the case that care establishments may look for a local hairdresser as a cheap and easy option, unaware that Lily Pins exists to provide a much higher standard of service.
Having been in the industry for 12 years, it is my understanding that ‘mobile hairdressers’ have difficulty in offering a service to some of the more challenging clients through their lack of understanding of Dementia.
Unfortunately, due to budget and time constraints, it is not easy for us to spread the word as quickly or as widespread as we would like.
We are often asked to take over a service within a Care Home, where a mobile hairdresser has left, prompting the Care Home to discover that only 10 out of 60 people were having their hair done each week – posing the question “what about the other residents?” We are often told that they were not able to have their hair done, as the hairdresser could not manage them, or they were bed-bound for example
Due to our experience and training, Lily Pins can offer our services to everyone within the establishment, knowing that if they may say no to us in the morning, they may well have changed their mind by the afternoon.
Finally Lily Pins was then required to submit an Action Plan which the company is committed to delivering. This consists of a National Education Campaign, Care Home Awareness Campaign and Training and Development Programme.
Lily Pins’ Action Plan is available to read on the official DAA website.
We find it bewildering that within care home environments, all personnel have to undergo at least one Dementia awareness session (including kitchen, maintenance and catering staff), yet those coming into close personal contact with vulnerable adults - hairdressers, footcare specialists and beauticians - are not required to have Dementia training.
Joining the DAA is indicative of the long term commitment that Lily Pins has in campaigning for government legislation to make it compulsory for outside services providers working with individuals living with Dementia to have adequate training. This will help professionals to offer the safest and best possible service to this vulnerable group of adults.