Buckinghamshire New University

Dementia simulation to improve patient care

The Dementia Simulation is helping to improve the care of dementia patients by giving nursing students at Buckinghamshire New University, and the NHS more widely, a powerful insight into their everyday lives. 

Devised in 2017 by Sam McCormack, Technical Manager in Simulation, Psychology and Performance, the simulation allows students to become fully immersed, feeling and experiencing what it might be like for patients with failing cognitive function who require support and care from nurses and carers. Simple devices such as adapted safety goggles and ear defenders are used to give students an insight into the lives of some of the UK’s most vulnerable people.

Miss McCormack said: “We restrict students’ senses and ‘aggravate’ them – for instance taking blood pressure, make them stand, sit or walk – but with no communication. Students say the experience allows them to reflect on their own practice and how to confront others when poor practice is demonstrated.”

The Royal Hospital Chelsea’s carers are just some of the NHS Trusts and private care providers outside the University who have benefitted from the sim. One participant said: ‘It opened my eyes - now I can provide better care for our iconic Chelsea Pensioners’.

The simulation was awarded Teaching Innovation of the Year 2018 at the Student Nursing Times Awards.  

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