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WHELD (Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia) research programme

The National Dementia Strategy for England highlights the need to provide effective psychological and social approaches and person centred care practice to improve the well-being of people with dementia. Dalemead Residential Care Home is one of the homes that is participating in the WHELD (Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia) research programme. This is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded programme involving Kings College London, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, North East London Foundation Trust, North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH)/ Bangor Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and University of Hull.

The WHELD project will evaluate whether staff support and coaching to provide person centred care and effective person centred activities for people with dementia living in care homes are more effective in improving the mental health and well-being of residents compared to their usual care. During the next 9 months a research therapist will work with nominated members of staff (“Dementia Champions”) in the homes receiving the intervention, to provide training on person centred care, promote person centred activities and interactions and to provide care home staff and general practitioners with the latest best practice information regarding the optimal use of psychotropic medications for people with dementia.

The findings from the research will be shared locally through training events and articles and published in academic journals. If the WHELD approach is effective a further aim will be to develop a system to roll this out nationally.