Dementia Link Worker

The Gloucestershire Dementia Link Worker (DLW) and Dementia Leads Award (DLA) are changing Find out More.

The role of dementia link worker (DLW)

The 2009 National Dementia Strategy stated that all health & social care staff need to own the skills necessary to provide best quality dementia care, achieved through training & continuous development.

Within Gloucestershire the DLW role has been developed to;

  • Provide & sustain excellent person-centred care within Gloucestershire.
  • Support & facilitate the development of expertise within the counties health & social care workforce.
  • Provide skills development opportunities for health & social care staff.

Supporting people living with dementia requires a high level of competence which includes competence in emotional and empathetic skills, respecting people as unique individuals, and having the confidence to challenge negative attitudes associated with dementia.

In the wake of the Francis Inquiry, and following the identification of serious challenges in some health and social care settings there has been a national emphasis on clarifying the learning outcomes ,competencies and standards of behaviour expected of health and social care workers with a focus on the need for compassionate, quality care.

The Dementia Link Worker Role is a key part of the multi-agency dementia training & education strategy for Gloucestershire and plays a key role in supporting the above.

What does a dementia link worker do?

There is no county wide job description as this will depend on the DLW’s role within their organisation or team. Expectations of the role should be discussed carefully, ideally with the organisations Dementia Lead before candidates commence the DLW award.

As a minimum the DLW will act as a role model and dementia champion – challenging negative attitudes and practice, promoting best practice.

There is an expectation that DLWs will share information with colleagues. Many DLWs are supporting induction programmes within their teams and are well placed to work with dementia leads to support the requirements of the care certificate.

In housing and home support services DLWs have been instrumental in recognising early signs of dementia and supporting people to receive information, advice and support services.

Many DLWs have a role in developing person centred care plans.

Some DLWs act as a point of contact for family carer’s and are active in organising relative support groups.

From the above you can see that the DLW needs to be confident in being able to share knowledge and support change. DLWs also need to be able to undertake the DLW role within the boundaries of their organisations job description. It can be demoralising for a DLW to find they do not have the authority or organisational support to implement their role. This is why it is very important that DLWs work closely with, and receive the support of their dementia lead to develop an action plan that will utilise the DLWs knowledge and skills.

There is an expectation that the DLW will continue to develop their knowledge and skills by attending DLW support & network meetings.

Please note that DLWs will continue to be included on the DLW database only if they attend a minimum of two DLW support forums each year.


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