Training care home staff to use Talking Mats® with people who have dementia

Jane Macer and Joan Murphy

Helping people with dementia organise and express their thoughts.

It can be difficult for carers and people with dementia to communicate. In recognition of this, JRF funded the development and delivery of a project in 2008/2009 that would train care home staff across the UK to use Talking Mats. This system, complete with a textured mat and visual symbols, helps people with communications difficulties to interact.

This paper highlights key findings from the project, including:

  • Confident staff who had management support were more likely to do well in training and implement new practice
  • Training of this kind is more effective when delivered to a group of staff in one care home
  • Talking Mats can benefit people at all stages of dementia, but it is still especially difficult to interact with residents in the later stages of the disease
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