A NURSING home in Barry is helping residents relearn simple tasks thanks to one of the world’s leading clinical dementia specialists who says the brain has the potential to “heal” itself.

College Fields Nursing Home is reaping the benefits of an innovative training programme which effectively retrains undamaged parts of the brain through a process known as ‘rementia’.

The programme was put together by New York-based expert Dr Dan Nightingale, a clinical dementia specialist, educator, researcher and writer working across the UK and the US.

Dr Nightingale recently visited the home to see first-hand how staff were putting his ideas into practice and also present them with certificates.

Rementia is a process which can give individuals back some of their skills and abilities which have been taken away from them.

College Fields nursing director Rachel Kemp, who has been delivering the training to staff alongside manager Helen Randall, said: “What you can do, like with stroke residents, is help them relearn lost functions.

“You can relearn skills and abilities with another part of the brain.

“It’s all about building on the positives - what abilities they have and not focusing on what they don’t have.

“There is a very negative viewpoint around dementia and not enough focus on the good things that the person can do.”

She added: “In terms of relearning skills, it’s about getting a person to do specific functions.

“For instance if meal time is 12pm, three quarters of an hour beforehand we start this training skill where we get the resident to put 12 cotton wool balls in a baking tray using tongs.

“They put them in and take them out three times.

“With some residents losing their fine motor skills and not able to hold cutlery, what you’re doing is getting that understanding again.

“It’s not a quick fix and it’s a long process.”

Mario Kreft MBE, chairman of Care Forum Wales said: “I take my hat off to Rachel, Helen and all the staff at College Fields for embracing what is an innovative and life changing programme not only for the residents but the entire workforce.

“Hearing how these methods have empowered the residents and given them confidence and self-esteem is absolutely wonderful, and long may that excellent work continue.”

Dr Nightingale said: “Rementia literally means giving back some of the skills and abilities that the person living with dementia has lost.

“I have seen this in practice at College Fields as this training has touched the staffs’ unconscious emotional empathy, brought it to the conscious mind and used it to better engage with the people who live there.

“College Fields has great leadership from Rachel and Helen - they are ensuring this programme has the biggest impact possible. “I saw this in practice during my visit. Everyone was engaging in various interactions and activities.”

For information visit dementiadoctor.co.uk