Dementia Care Mapping

There are days when I like to promote another blog, or someone else’s stories or work, and today is one of them. Wendy follows my blog, and has contributed so positively about her personal experience of working with Dementia Care Mapping, I asked her to write about it. There is definitely a lot of information on the net about it too, and I have added to Wendy’s words with an overview from the Bradford University in the UK.

It sounds to me like the tool enables the capacity of people with dementia, a very important issue, which is so often missing in residential aged care.

Dementia Care Mapping

By Wendy Sheils 2013

“DCM is a well recognized evaluation tool which has been used throughout the world for the past 16 or so years, it is based on Person Centred Care principles as developed by Tom Kitwood, a British social psychologist from Bradford University, U.K.

The people who use this tool are ‘mappers’ and have undergone many, many hours of training and experience. I was trained in 2002 and have accumulated hundreds of hours of experience since then, and am firmly convinced of its place in aged care.

Mapping is used to evaluate how a person with a diagnosis of dementia feels about what is happening to and around them without the need to verbalise.  Mapping is usually carried out over a period of hours or days to enable a picture to be built up.  However it can be used for short periods when evaluation is needed during specific times such as meal times or organized activities.

Information gained directly contributes to the quality of life of the person ‘mapped’; provides evidence based data for change; measures progress and indicates how people are feeling at specific times.

Experience has shown that much of the ill-being experienced by people who are living with a diagnosis of dementia is due to the attitudes and procedures of people around them.  None of which is being done deliberately, rather by ignorance of what each person as an individual requires, enabling well-being for them.

DCM is used in care settings and bypasses the need to communicate directly with the person, relying instead on observation.  It works on the assumption that people indicate their well-being and ill-being if they are observed over a period of time by a trained ‘mapper’.

I have used DCM in various settings within aged care for many years.  One of my most exciting projects was to create a Resident Satisfaction Survey for people in a residential care facility who were unable to respond to the ‘regular’ survey because of their lack of verbal communication.  In the past when surveys were held, either a person’s family member, or a carer would complete the survey on the resident’s behalf.  Consequently there was a sizable percentage of residents whose responses were not a true reflection of their opinions.

While it was not possible to ‘map’ all residents in all areas covered by the survey, however I mapped a good proportion of people during mealtimes, activities, personal care and leisure time.  The results were evaluated and a graph and report created which sat alongside the ‘regular’ survey.

This survey method enabled this group of people to have a voice.  It enabled the facility to restructure areas to ensure they responded to physical and psychological needs and heightened staff awareness of their capacity to experience well-being.”


And a bit more on Dementia Care Mapping…

Dementia Care Mapping: A general overview © University of  Bradford 2005

“Background of DCM

Psychologists Tom Kitwood and Kathleen Bredin at the University of Bradford developed DCM in the early 1990’s.  They designed an observational tool that looked at the care of people with dementia from the viewpoint of the person with dementia.  These results can assist with the development of person-centred care.

The method itself draws on a value base of respecting personhood.  It is possible that people with dementia, despite their disabilities, can experience a sense of well-being.  For well-being to occur, care and attention must be focused on the uniqueness of the person, their tastes and abilities and their choices.  Crucial to the method is the belief that the social world that surrounds the person can have a positive or negative effect on well-being.  DCM can help us to understand this world more clearly and assist us to develop care that is person-centred.

Well-being in dementia is viewed as a complex interaction of a person’s neurological state, their physical health, their personality, social world and background.  DCM helps us to understand and learn more about these and helps us to plan our care.

The uses of DCM

DCM can be used in a number of ways:

1        Assessment;

2        Development of care by repeated cycles of mapping;

3        Identification of training needs and staff development;

4        Quality assurance;

5        Research.

DCM is not unique to the United Kingdom.  It is currently used across the globe.  There are many different countries in which it is well established.”

4 thoughts on “Dementia Care Mapping

The only thing missing in this global conversation is YOUR voice... Thank you.

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