The rights of people with dementia -Jackie Bridges – Professor of Older People’s Care, University of Southampton

Not so long ago CLAHRC East of England Research Capacity in Dementia Care Programme (RCDCP) joined forces with the University of Southampton Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre to provide a European Summer School for 17 dementia care doctoral students. Hosted by the University of Linköping in Sweden, the programme enabled participants to share ideas, build international partnerships, and learn from leaders in dementia care research.

Professor Jackie Bridges explains some of the lessons we can learn about caring for people with dementia.

She was particularly struck by the approach of a day centre she visited whilst on the trip.

“The day centre that we visited with the carpentry workshop (basket weaving also available) was for people with dementia living in the community.

It was set up to offer a home-like atmosphere, to enable people to continue to socialise and continue with meaningful activity. There was a variety of ways that people could spend their time but the one that was most striking was the carpentry workshop so that the day centre users could if they wished continue with this hobby.

This provision signalled a very particular approach to risk taking, an approach that reflects a philosophy of risk enablement, recognising that a part of quality of life is having the right to continue to take risks.

All of our doctoral studies in the Research Capacity in Dementia Care Pilot Programme (RCDCP) and wider are underpinned by a rights-based approach that actively promotes the rights of men and women living with dementia to participate fully in the world, including in research, to easily access health and social care services tailored to their needs, and to be supported to make decisions and take risks to maintain or improve their quality of life.

The theme of all the projects at Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre at Southampton (closely linked to our RCDCP students) is risk enablement and patient safety, so we were able to use this example to discuss how dementia care services can offer positive risk taking opportunities.”

See Edward Hardy’s story from a home for people with dementia in Somerset –


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