Transforming Institutions: Giving Dementia Patients a Voice

This year we held our first Navigating the Twilight workshop at the Royal Free London HospitalNavigating the Twilight is a workshop that was devised with the view to giving dementia patients a voice, and to change the way hospital staff think about and respond to dementia. The training focused on a range of staff; cleaners, porters, nurses, executives, security guards, therapists, and gave them the permission to experiment with different approaches to patient care. They were able to safely play with power, control, kindness, love and a number of other incendiary items routinely mishandled on wards. Below is what the RFL Group Dementia Lead had to say about the training. 

“Chickenshed’s thoughtful and creative ‘leftfield’ approach completely disarmed staff usually so weary and jaded by initiatives masquerading as ‘innovation’. To watch a room full of eye-rollers deeply engaged in improvisational partner work, or focussing on the theatricality of their physical selves was such a pleasant shock. I admit that in the days running up to the workshop I did have more than one anxiety wake at 3am thinking about how the workshop might be received. Could Chickenshed really change anything? Their impact was nothing short of a revelation. Unlike any other training we’ve done in the hospital, these sessions focussed on a huge range of staff and turned the learning inward; acknowledging that it’s not really about the person in front of you, but how you use what inside of you to engage with them.

“It felt as though staff were seeing their work and themselves anew and realising that just because they’ve always done things a certain way, that’s not a good enough reason to keep doing them. The evaluations were unlike anything I’ve ever read before – we didn’t have a single negative comment in over 100 detailed evaluations. In clinical scenarios, people are doing things differently, focussing on their own behaviour instead of that which they observe in another. We are so delighted to have worked with Chickenshed on this and hope that ‘Navigating the Twilight’ becomes a regular part of our staff training programme.”

- RFL Group Dementia Lead