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Dementia Centre launches with international conference

02 June 2010

The Dementia Services Development Centre South East (DSDCse) has hosted its first international conference at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Delegates from the conference at a workshop
Delegates from the conference at a workshop.

The conference, Dementia Care: A positive Future, marked the official launch of the Centre and featured world leading speakers on dementia care. Personal accounts of caring for someone with dementia were also given by carers, such as journalist, John Suchet.

Canterbury Christ Church University, Dementia UK and Avante Partnership joined as equal partners of the Centre late last year. The aim of the Centre is to support dementia services in the South East by offering innovative training programmes and care qualifications for healthcare professionals as well as to improve the quality and development of services for people with dementia and their carers. 

Penny Hibberd of Canterbury Christ Church University is Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre. She said:  “This conference has highlighted the energy and positivity that can be generated when living and working with people with dementia.

“The Centre is keen to continue to develop a positive approach to dementia care that will improve services and quality of life for people with dementia and their families in our region”.

The two day international conference focused on person-centred care, highlighting the need for two-way communication with dementia sufferers and their families. Key speakers included Dr William H. Thomas, Dr Trevor Adams, former carer Barbara Pointon MBE, and John Suchet, Honorary Fellow for Dementia UK.

The delegates also took part in interactive workshops throughout the two days, exploring the person-centred approach to caring for someone with dementia and the relationship between carers and care staff.

Naomi Dickson, Medical Matron at East Kent Hospitals, attended both days. She said: “I attended the workshop for working with expert family carers. It gave all of us a very powerful message to take back to the work place: that even a small difference can have a big impact. We need to remember that, and not overlook it.

"Looking after people with dementia can be difficult at times, especially in a hospital environment, but we need to remember we can make a difference by listening to families.”

Vicki Pout, Dietetic Team Leader for Eastern Cosatal Kent Community Services, said: “It has been a very inspirational conference. It has reminded us to put the patient and the carer at the centre of everything we do.

“We should be learning from both the patient and the carer as they are the experts in that person’s experience of living with dementia.”

For more information on the work of the Centre or to view the presentations from the conference, please visit:



Notes to Editor

• The Centre is a partnership between Canterbury Christ Church University, Avante Partnership and Dementia UK, serving the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. It is one of six dementia services development centres in the UK.

• Service development is a core activity of the Centre, with the aim to support dementia services to plan, deliver, or improve the quality of services for older people with mental illness and dementia, curriculum design and development, teaching, and training.

• Like the dementia services development centres in the other regions of the UK, the south east centre shares the philosophy of care that is a person-centred, relationship based approach that focuses on preserving the dignity and independence of the individual who has dementia. Dementia is viewed as a disability and the culture of care that we promote emphasises personal strengths, maintenance and development of relationships and retained abilities.

Dementia Services Development Centre South east Partners
• The Faculty of Health and Social care at Canterbury Christ Church University participates in a nationwide programme of research, education and training dedicated to providing more effective, person centred care for this distressing condition.

• Dementia UK is a national charity, committed to improving the quality of life for all people affected by dementia. Dementia UK supports the Admiral Nurse Service, Dementia UK Training and Uniting Carers.

• The Avante Partnership is the leading provider of residential care homes and care at home services in the South East. Avante offers specialist dementia care to its popular domiciliary care and community support services.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University has, since its foundation by the Church of England as a teacher training college in 1962, developed a wide range of taught programmes, research and educational services. It continues to be the largest centre of higher education in Kent for the major public services.

The University now has approximately 16,700 students based in five Faculties: Arts and Humanities, Business and Management, Education, Health and Social Care, Social and Applied Sciences.  Our 1,500 staff contribute to the University’s work at our five campuses: Canterbury, Broadstairs, Folkestone (in partnership with the Creative Foundation and the University of Greenwich), Medway (in partnership with the Universities of Greenwich and Kent with Mid-Kent College) and Tunbridge Wells.

In so doing we seek to sustain the University’s Mission: ‘Inspired by the University’s Church of England Foundation and the aspirations of our students and staff, our mission is to pursue excellence in academic and professional higher education thereby enriching both individuals and society.’



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Jeanette Earl
01227 782391