Interview: Kate Grange

The latest instalment in our activity coordinator interviews, this month: Kate Grange, Dementia Lead, Norse Care

Kate’s role involves providing support and guidance in dementia care to all of the care homes in Norfolk. She works with teams to empower care staff to support individuals with complex needs in the homes; organises training for staff; supports homes to adapt their environments to make them more dementia friendly; works with all the homes to set up dementia cafes in their local communities; supports the carers and activities staff to ensure appropriate meaningful activities are provided to residents and tenants and also supporting families and visitors to our homes and schemes.

The best thing about my job is… Spending time with our residents, tenants and families in our home and seeing how the teams and I can make a difference to their lives.

The most challenging thing about my role is seeing the journey that families may go through when caring for their loved ones living with dementia. This may involve happy or sad times so we ensure that we provide support for all that may be affected.

People are often surprised that I worked and lived in Mombasa in Kenya as an Occupational Therapist after I qualified. And that I am one of the very few PAC trainers in the UK (Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care). This enables me to train others in her approaches to dementia care.  Teepa Snow is a dementia educator specialist from the USA, and if you haven’t seen any of her work I would encourage everyone to look at her great work.

I can’t get through the day without…  My dog and chocolate.

I believe person-centred care is ensuring that the person we are caring for is at the heart of everything we do. It means empowering that person and their family to work alongside ourselves and other professionals to ensure that their care meets their individual needs.

Activities are… a part of everyday life and provide a meaning and purpose to people’s lives.  Everything can be made into an activity such as activities in leisure, personal care, domestic tasks and work.

We use The Daily Sparkles… as a tool to promote conversations and reminiscence. The Daily Sparkle is used in all our homes and we encourage those living with us, staff and visitors to use it every day.

A ‘whole home approach’ is… Everyone working together and sharing the same beliefs and values, whether that would be the person we care for, the manager, care staff, domestic team or visitors.

I wish….that there was a lot more understanding on dementia in the community. Although with the work of the “dementia friends” initiative, recent TV programmes and social media campaigns this has really helped improve this and it is encouraging to hear that dementia is being spoken about more widely now.