05 Feb 2016
Mental health problems affect one in four people every year, and all too often, those who look after people suffering from dementia neglect their own mental health. To help look after their welfare, we have been running mindfulness courses for the staff and carers of our dementia patients.
The groups were organised by Andrew Waterhouse, occupational therapist at the Hammersmith & Fulham cognitive impairment and dementia service, who recently completed a teacher training course at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. During the sessions he teaches awareness of the breath and body, mindful yoga, mindful walking, and awareness of thoughts and feelings.
Andrew said: “I’m very pleased to be able to offer this course to carers now, as it’s been a huge success with staff. Everyone here works so hard, and it’s important they find ways to manage the stresses of work.
“Mindfulness has been proven to help prevent people becoming burnt out, so it will be really beneficial for the carers of our dementia patients. It can be a demanding role, and it’s our job to support carers as well as service users. Patient care is sure to improve if everyone involved feels focused and relaxed.”
Hanna Sampson, an occupational therapist at St Vincent’s who attended the course for staff, said: “The group is a great space to clear our heads from stress and busy thoughts, and is teaching us how to apply the techniques to life outside of work too. It’s been a very positive experience.”