Partners in Policymaking is renowned and internationally
respected. Lynne Elwell, who brought the course to the UK in 1996,
has continued to develop programmes for over 20 years. This year
brought a new growth in the Partners network with a course
specifically designed for people who are living with Dementia and
Lynne Elwell and Julie Stansfield led the new programme,
'Shifting the Pattern', in Hartlepool. 'Shifting the Pattern' aimed
to equip people who have early onset dementia, their spouses,
families and people who support them with the knowledge,
information, confidence and competence needed to plan.
Lynne said: 'We believe that the people who
need support and those who love and support them are the true
experts on what they want and need to have a great life. Shifting
the Pattern will give the participants the information and skills
needed. We will explore what is important to people who have
dementia or support someone they love with dementia. We will look
at best practice around the country and we share a good
understanding of Person-Centred Planning, self-directed support and
support planning, including advance directives and living wills, so
that people can plan themselves rather than be planned for by
others who might not know the person.'
As you'd expect, the course was a great success with good
lessons learnt for future courses. Julie Stansfield, who presented
and supported on the programme and led the evaluation, said:
'It is great that local authorities and CCGs are investing
directly in people. This programme not only made a key difference
to families who are living with dementia, but also invests in the
local groups, communities and voluntary organisations coming
together. It also raised some strategic issues and solutions for
the commissioners to consider, such as the increasing percentage of
male carers needing different advice and support to sustain
becoming a carer for their wife, and levels and context of
information giving at initial diagnosis via the GP.
Thanks to Hartlepool Council, as ever, leading the
innovation, The Alzheimer's society and some amazing speakers
offering their expertise and support to the programme, and Lynne
creating the culture where people feel safe to learn, share and
plan for better futures.'
Here is what course participants had to say:
'It's really helped us understand what bits we can get on
and do ourselves and what bits we might need to rely on
professionals or health to do.'
'The more knowledge you can get you can face the future
and move forward with confidence.'
'To those funding it, the help given in the community by
family carers will more than make up for the cost of having
sufferers looked after by the health services.'
'Knowing we are not alone. Meeting others and finding out
good information and talking about what it means in practice.
Thoroughly enjoyed all of it.'
'It's delivered in such a relaxed way. People come and
gain a network.'
Asked what they would say to others considering taking part in a
future course, participants said:
'Do it, it's really valuable. It give you good info and
links. I know where to go and who to go to and know how it all
'Go on it. It's necessary you get the education, it's
helpful and gives you confidence.'
'It really helped us get to grips with things we wasn't
even sure we needed to! Gives us a way of keeping some control
within the chaos.'
Find out more about the Partners in Policymaking
programme of courses by following the link below.