Health and Social Care staff across Gibraltar have attended an innovative Dementia Palliative Care Course, delivered virtually by St Christopher’s Hospice, London.

This course is aimed at enhancing the quality of care for individuals living locally with Dementia and was organised in collaboration with Palliative Care Doctor, Dr. Bronwen James, and Dementia Coordinator, Karen Truman, marking a significant milestone in the realm of palliative and Dementia care.

Dementia is a progressive condition affecting millions worldwide, it presents unique challenges that demand specialised care approaches. Recognising this need, St Christopher's Hospice, renowned for its excellence in end-of-life care, has provided a bespoke course for Gibraltar which has been kindly funded by the Gibraltar Alzheimer's and Dementia Society.

The Dementia Palliative Care Course has been designed to provide healthcare professionals with the confidence to support people with advanced Dementia and their Carers. Drawing upon evidence-based practices and the latest advancements in Dementia Care, participants have gained insights during the two-day course which included a focus on common symptoms, successful future planning, distressed and adaptive behaviours, emotional labour of caring and communication. The course was facilitated by Helen Scott, an Independent Nurse Lecturer specialising in palliative and end-of-life care and Dementia who previously worked at St Christopher’s as a Palliative Care Nurse Lecturer and was supplemented throughout the two days by Clinical Leaders and Research Professionals experienced in Dementia and Palliative Care.

Daphne Alcantara, GADS Chairperson, said: “The Gibraltar Alzheimer’s & Dementia Society is proud to have funded the first Dementia Palliative Care Course for Health and Social Care staff in Gibraltar which will greatly benefit the lives of people living with Dementia and their families

Karen Truman, Dementia Coordinator, said: "We are immensely grateful to the Gibraltar Alzheimer's and Dementia Society for their generous support, which has made this course possible, Their dedication to improving Dementia care aligns with the Gibraltar National Dementia Strategy (2023-2028), and together, we strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by this condition."

Dr James, Palliative Care Doctor at St Bernard’s Hospital, said: "We are thrilled to have launched this initiative that embodies our commitment to providing holistic care for individuals with dementia. This course represents a collaborative effort between healthcare professionals and community organisations, underscoring the importance of multidisciplinary teamwork in addressing the complex needs of patients and their families."

GHA Director General Mr Kevin McGee OBE IPFA said, “This Dementia Palliative Care Course has been very popular, and demand has exceeded spaces available. This speaks volumes about the dedication of Healthcare and Social Care professionals in Gibraltar, who deeply value the importance of enhancing the quality of life for individuals with dementia, to be able to provide compassionate and dignified care until the end of life.”

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