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Values, Equalities, Rights and Dementia (VERDe) Network

The Mental Health Foundation was awarded £27,720 in October 2015 until March 2017, in order to lead a network established to embed different thinking and a rights-based approach in policy and practice for people living with dementia. The network was co-funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The VERDe network brought together service providers, people with dementia and voluntary sector organisations from across the UK to discuss the values, equality issues and rights that need to be central to dementia care and support services. It involved a series of six forum meetings. The themes for the events were based on work generated by JRF’s Dementia Without Walls (DWW) programme.

These discussions allowed people with dementia to explain why a different approach to dementia would be greatly beneficial to them. For example, the way in which a person is told about their diagnosis and the support they receive immediately afterwards can significantly influence how they react to the news. Many of the issues raised at the meetings had very practical applications and will be written into training packages and guidance for medical staff and care home workers.

The benefits of the network were that it informed, sustained and expanded the network of influencers beyond the lifetime of the JRF’s DWW programme, which is now completed. It also identified and wherever possible, implemented, practical and achievable ways to have lasting impact on changing thinking and a rights-based approach to policy and practice concerning rights and values for people living with dementia.