The Old Library Trust’s DEEDS team marked their 8th year at Ulster University (Magee) by reaching the magnificent target of 3,000 nurses trained in the National Lottery community-funded DEEDS (Dementia Empowered & Engaged in Derry & Strabane) Project, delivering Dementia Awareness training to every nursing going through the campus.

In last week’s training, 380 students took part in experiential training over a 2-day period which also included 40 students of the first cohort of the new Paramedic Course, unique to the campus.

The DEED’s team supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, developed an immersive experiential session for the potential nurses and paramedics to help them understand and empathise with patients suffering from dementia whom they will encounter when on placement, employed on hospital wards, in care homes and across other settings.

Project Director at The Old Library Trust, George McGowan had nothing but praise for everyone involved in last week’s training at UU Magee. Stressing the importance of becoming more dementia friendly, he thanked funders and wished students every success in going forward and putting into practice what they had learned over the two days.

‘The DEEDS project continues to go from strength-to-strength, helping to support the City and District to become more Dementia friendly. Thank you to the National Lottery Community fund and to all those who buy tickets because this is the type of impact that you are having.

‘We are also indebted to Ulster University for such a positive relationship, and of course, to The DEEDS team who continue to do all they can to help raise awareness of a condition that impacts us all. Good Luck to all the students and we know that they will put all their learning into practice like those before them to help support people living with dementia and their families in our communities.”

Responding to the Director’s remarks, Dr Deirdre Harkin, Lecturer in Nursing at UU said she valued the sustained collaboration between UU and the Old Library Trust in keeping our communities dementia friendly.

‘Here at Ulster University, we value our continued collaboration with DEEDS.  Our nursing student’s education in the subject of Dementia is further enriched with these workshops, helping them to consider some the impact dementia can have on the person.

‘Only through education and training we can do our best to help create Derry and Strabane as a truly dementia friendly region.’

Sinead Devine, DEEDS Project Co-ordinator at the Old Library Trust explained the experience given to the students.

‘The session begins by taking the students away from their usual friendship network which helps the student realise how difficult it is for someone with dementia to navigate without their family support. We then have four sensory stations whereby the student’s senses are impacted upon. The students are the asked to do simple tasks which have been made more difficult due to the impairment. Asking the students to do these simple tasks with impairments can help them build up the feelings of frustration and annoyance, even worthlessness that people with dementia often experience.  After each student has experienced the four stations, the team help the students explore the feelings and emotions they have experienced and then learn more about the best way to approach these situations.”

Leaving after last week’s training, students who took part said they were impressed with the course and found the main aspects as ‘eye-opening’ and ‘well expressed.’

‘The whole scenario was very well-expressed and explained. It made me realise how scared and anxious people with dementia must feel at times.’

Another commented: ‘I felt the training was of a very high standard, highlighting all the areas that people with dementia struggle with. Very well organised. It was really eye opening and the realistic scenarios presented put me in the position of how someone with dementia feels. Very rewarding training.’

In the coming months the Old library Trust will continue to deliver a wide range of training, education, and Dementia support programmes alongside its physical and social groups across the Derry City and Strabane district council area.

If you would like more information, advice or guidance then please get in touch by contacting, Phoning 02871 373870 or PM on any of our socials @OLTHLC

The Old Library Trust’s DEEDS Team pictured with some of the Ulster University lecturers after last week’s dementia training at Magee. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)