Fellows to Produce Salzburg Statement Focused on Dementia-Friendly Communities




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Dec 04, 2017
by Tomás De La Rosa
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Fellows to Produce Salzburg Statement Focused on Dementia-Friendly Communities

Fellows present recommendations on the fifth day of Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities Participants from the Salzburg Global session, Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia Friendly Communities

Participants from 14 countries have agreed to develop a Salzburg Statement to use as a framework when approaching governments and organizations on dementia care issues.

The decision was made on the fifth day of the Salzburg Global session, Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities, which is part of the multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century.

Leading up to this, 40 participants had spent four and a half days discussing the stigma surrounding dementia and what a dementia-friendly community entails.

They also took part in plenary sessions addressing various aspects of life with dementia, including how innovations in dementia care can reduce the stigma surrounding the condition and make a difference in people’s lives. Participants also reflected on the benefits of a timely diagnosis and the role of arts in mitigating the impact of dementia.

On the fifth day of the session, participants presented six sets of recommendations addressing different elements that make up dementia-friendly communities and how to apply them in a global context.

After their presentations, participants agreed a Salzburg Statement would be the prime vehicle to bring together these proposals and take decisive action moving forward.

The first group, which addressed community empowerment, produced a strategy oriented toward giving self-confidence to people with dementia and the people around them through education and tools, active engagement in professional care, and knowledge of their legal rights and how to access them.

Through this approach, they hope to help create more safe spaces for people with dementia through professional acceptance of family leadership, community networking and social conversation platforms, and the creation of a general environment of inclusiveness and dignity.

The second group looked into research priorities within dementia-friendly communities. These were established based on the needs of those living with dementia and their carers. The first of these priorities focused on issues such as the role communities can play in screening and addressing people with dementia and caregivers at the time of diagnosis and providing initial educational and care plans.

The second priority was community-based care and services, which includes focusing on support for challenges people with dementia may face, caregiver support, and supportive social structures. The last priority suggested looking at alternatives to institutionalization for people with disabling dementia, how to manage complications, and how to make end-of-life care more humane.

The third group designed a roadmap providing guidance for effective dementia education and training programs. Its elements included target groups; skills, knowledge, and attitudes at different levels; consideration of needs; learning methods; insurance of accessibility; and culturally appropriate systems. Through it, the group hopes policymakers, educators, local communities, researchers, individuals, and institutions, would be able to design more effective dementia-friendly communities.

Inspired by their meetings in Schloss Leopoldskron's Max Reinhardt Library, the fourth group proposed the creation of an information library on dementia. It would be publicly accessible and professionally curated in consultation with dementia-friendly initiatives. The library would also introduce Wiki-style entries for dementia-friendly projects and organizations, which would contain work details such as their mission, goals and progress, contact details, location, and crowdfunding links.

The fifth group focused on dementia-friendly innovations in medical care. Their project looked into how communities and individuals can have a role in health facilitation for front-line staff, such as medical carers, to learn the needs and wants of people with dementia. Through this, they’d be able to provide care navigation, resources to a wider team in more complex issues, and prepare for life-course stages.

The final group explored the steps to build on to further awareness in dementia-friendly communities. This "Global Communication Network on Dementia" would help transform ideas into actions across various countries. This group suggested the moment is prime for introducing the project, as there is a "worldwide need for an open source network." Among other actions, this would allow people to exchange best practices for care and build awareness of how communities can be dementia-friendly. The network’s core belief is, "Together we can build bridges, relationships to broaden horizons and inspire each other to improve the lives of people with dementia and carers."

Veronique Roger, a representative from session partner Mayo Clinic, said the outcomes from this session would allow the different parts of dementia care to be more synergistic. To finish she added, "We have an opportunity to go after the goals we have set for ourselves [...] It will never be enough, but if we start now we will have more than what we started with."

The session, Changing Minds: Innovations in Dementia Care and Dementia-Friendly Communities, is part of Salzburg Global Seminar multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century. This year’s session is held in partnership with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and The Mayo Clinic, with support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Tsao Foundation, and the University of Texas.