Values, Equalities, Rights and Dementia (VERDe) Network

National project
Award: £27,720
Timescale: October 2015 – March 2017

Project aims

  • to hold a series of events bringing together a network of influencers, community activists, project providers, practitioners, people living with dementia, their families and friends to sustain and develop reflective thinking and a rights-based approach to policy and practice concerning rights and ethics for people living with dementia
  • to inform, sustain and expand the network of influencers
  • to identify and wherever possible, implement practical and achievable ways for the network to have lasting, positive impact on changing thinking and a rights-based approach to policy and practice concerning rights and ethics for people living with dementia

Background

People with dementia are the experts by experience. Collectively and individually they are in a position to use their expertise to embed the rights of people living with dementia into local action.

They should be in position to use their expertise to inform the health and social care services that they are using, as well as the development of new policy and practice in the areas and countries they live in.

However, the views of people living with dementia and their family and carers are often ignored. In fact, over a third of people with dementia do not seem to have a voice in choosing how they can live their life. How can a focus on rights and social justice can help improve this situation? What are the areas in which people with dementia can be most involved in when a national government is developing policy?

It was these issues that led to the formation of the VERDe network.

More Information

VERDe stands for Values, Equality, Rights and Dementia. The VERDE network was established to embed different thinking and a rights-based approach in policy and practice for people living with dementia. It was funded by JRF and Life Changes Trust and led by the Mental Health Foundation.

The 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. 

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 of this network had very practical applications and need to be written into training packages and guidance for medical staff and care home workers. This will be a subsequent stage of this work.

The project ran from October 2015 to April 2017 and 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.

For example, the meeting which took place in Manchester on 18th November 2016 focused on how people with dementia were acting locally. It also explored some of the ways in which people living with dementia felt their human rights had been violated, and the ways in which people can be empowered to take action to protect and embed their rights on a local level within the communities in which they live.

Briefing papers, short forum meeting reports and relevant links and resources are available here: http://dementiawithoutwalls.org.uk/verde/

Invitees to meetings included members of the DWW programme and other key influencers, policy makers and community activists. 

Click on the thumbnails below for the learning report and examples of best practice, produced by the Mental Health Foundation:

                     

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • this network will inform, sustain and expand the network of influencers beyond the lifetime of the JRF’s DWW programme 
  • it will also identify and wherever possible, implement, practical and achievable ways for the network 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

Additional Information

Awardee Website: http://dementiawithoutwalls.org.uk/