Psychological Interventions in Response to Stress and Distress in Dementia

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

This training initiative was originally aimed to increase knowledge and skills of NHS and local authority staff in how to prevent, assess and respond to distress in dementia for individuals with dementia, their families and carers – this approach is now being rolled out to independent sector care home staff.

What you did?

A 2 day training package developed by NES has been delivered to 267staff working at enhanced/expertise levels across Lanarkshire from June 2012 to present (March 2014).  The trainers included staff from NHSL, NLC and SLC and attendees worked in care settings across the entire dementia care pathway, including private care homes and the third sector. Following evaluation, wide consultation and needs assessment, a strategy has been developed to roll the training out to a further 700 staff including private care homes across Lanarkshire.  This will be supported locally by a supervision/consultation plan and additional training and awareness raising for staff working at informed/skilled levels and GPs and medication reviews.  Initial funding was provided by the North Lanarkshire Dementia Demonstrator Site and South Lanarkshire Council and additional funds have been approved through Reshaping Care.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

Various methods of evaluation have been used to examine change at attendee, care recipient and service level.  Outcomes to date have included a reduction in antipsychotic prescribing in a pilot locality, improved person-centred care, and reduced multiple placement changes and readmission to hospital.

Barriers to change have been explored and the future strategy proposed has embedded enablers to overcome these.

Further information on the initiative can be found in the poster here.

Contacts - to find out more

Dr Jennifer Borthwick,  01698 210021

Additional contacts:

Dr Leigh Whitnall ( and Dr Susan Ross ( 01698 210021