Final year nursing student Kirsty Swords, has scored considerable success with her ideas on advance care planning for people diagnosed with dementia.
Kirsty, who is undertaking an adult nursing course at the University of Stirling, produced a poster ‘The Future – Thinking Ahead’ which is being given out to service users in old age psychiatry and is also being used as a teaching aid with Strathcarron Hospice. In addition, she has been invited to present at a senior charge nurse forum at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
Kirsty’s interest stemmed from a placement in the dementia ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. She explained: “Caring for people with dementia can be difficult at times but very rewarding. I feel advance care planning is a good way to help people and their families to have more control and choice of their future. There is so much support out there and I think some admissions could have been prevented had people known what was available.”
NHS Forth Valley Quality Improvement Manager Oonagh Cameron added: “I think the importance of dementia is that its prevalence is continually increasing and nearly every nurse is going to come across it. I think to recognise the challenges of dementia so early in your training, as Kirsty has done, is commendable.”
Kirsty’s poster covers topics such as what advance care planning is, the benefits, how to start a care plan, where to seek support from both a health and local authority perspective, and how to contact outside organisations for additional information.