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What Is Dementia Care Mapping?

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The Mapping Process

Dementia Care Mapping was devised at the University of Bradford by Professor Tom Kitwood and Dr Kathleen Bredin in the late 1980s. This was in response to the need for evaluation tools that looked at care from the point of view of the person living with dementia, as up until then no such tools existed. Following their discoveries, Professor Kitwood became a pioneer in person-centred dementia research and an advocate for people living with dementia and the ways that they were marginalised in society at that time.

Dementia care mapping is an observational tool used in care settings to ensure that a person living with dementia has a holistic, or whole-person approach to their care, meaning that their emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing are taken into account, not just their physical health. According to the University of Bradford, Dementia Care Mapping can be used to “improve well-being and quality of life for people living with dementia at an individual care-planning level. Small things that engender happiness or distress are highlighted in the process of mapping. This can be built upon to ensure that people have the opportunity to experience well-being more often during their day.”

The Dementia Care Mapping process consists of five phases:

  1. Preparation and briefing
  2. Observation
  3. Analysis
  4. Feedback (both written report and verbal feedback)
  5. Action planning

What Is Dementia Care Mapping Used For?

Dementia Care Mapping is carried out by specially trained staff to ensure that the person living with dementia is being cared for in ways that enhance their quality of life at all times. It should be carried out at regular intervals so that care can be adjusted accordingly and support plans updated to reflect the changes in the person’s care. The person who is mapping will observe one or several people living with dementia at a particular time of day or during specific activities, such as mealtimes.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Care Mapping processes are used so that staff “focus on the experience of the person with dementia in order to action plan and provide person-centred care for them. What they learn about changes that could improve care from specific examples of the experience of people with dementia.” This can be beneficial not just for the people observed, but for others in the same care setting, as well as identifying where staff training needs exist and where skills may need developing.


Who Can Benefit from Dementia Care Mapping?

Dementia Care Mapping can benefit all people living with dementia, especially where there may be concerns about the quality of care being delivered, as well as everyone involved in the person’s care including staff, family members and visitors. It gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on and review the care being delivered and work together to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person concerned.

This process benefits the person living with dementia as it will focus on the care that they receive and whether it is person-centred and of a standard that represents how they wish to live their life. According to the University of Bradford’s Centre for Applied Dementia Studies, “The benefits of DCM include the improvement of people’s well-being and helping staff see care from the point of view of the person living with dementia, leading…them to feel more confident in implementing person-centred care. DCM has also been found to increase the job satisfaction of care staff.”

Dementia Care Mapping isn’t just suitable for use in hospitals, care homes and hospices either, it can be implemented in domiciliary care settings too, and as a supervisory framework for home care staff. Helping Hands are considered the dementia home care experts as we’ve been supporting our customers to live their best lives while living with dementia for over 30 years. If you would like to learn more about how Helping Hands could support you or a loved one living with dementia to receive the highest standards of care in your own home then contact us today. Our friendly customer care team are available seven days a week to advise you.

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