Thursday, 23 October 2014

Guest Post - A week in the life of an Allied Health Professions Dementia Consultant Jenny Reid

Todays guest blog post is from the great Jenny Reid, Allied Health Professions (AHP) Dementia Consultant working in NHS Lothian.  Thank you so much Jenny for taking the time to write such an informative post.  #makingadifference.


My name is Jenny Reid and I am an Allied Health Professions (AHP) Dementia Consultant working in NHS Lothian. There are four such posts in Scotland each with a different focus but working together as a team. The Allied Health Professions are a group of 10 different professions including:

  • Arts therapists (including art, music and drama)
  • Dietitians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthoptists
  • Paramedics
  • Podiatrists
  • Prosthetists and Orthotists
  • Radiographers (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and language therapists

I was delighted to be asked by Tommy to share my role through a guest blog on Dementia Carer Voices. One of the great things about my role is the variety, so in order to give you a flavour of some of the work I’m involved in I thought I would describe a week in the life of an AHP Dementia Consultant.


On Monday I was part of a team hosting a national event for AHPs involved in delivering post diagnostic support to people living with dementia, their families and carers.  The Connecting People, Connecting Support event was a one day conversation celebrating the best in supported self-management for people with dementia and co-creating the future direction.  The audience included Alzheimer Scotland Link Workers and Allied Health Professionals from around Scotland.  During the event we launched a new publication sharing good practice from around Scotland.  The Allied Health Professionals delivering Post-Diagnostic Support: Living Well with Dementia document is available online at:


The day was action packed with a range of speakers including Jacqui Lunday-Johnston (the Chief Health Professionals Officer in Scottish Government), Dr Claire Craig (Sheffield Hallam University), Amy Dalrymple (Alzheimer Scotland) and members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group.  In between the presentations Fiona McNeill and her associates hosted the conversation based on a series of powerful questions.  There is a webcast of the event for anyone who would like to see the day:

Tuesday included a meeting with colleagues from the occupational therapy team at Queen Margaret University and my colleague Elaine Hunter (AHP Consultant in Alzheimer Scotland).  We are working together to design opportunities for AHP students to learn the knowledge and skills they require to work effectively with people living with dementia, their families and carers.  This has included practice placements in Alzheimer Scotland services, AHP interns, an Alzheimer Scotland AHP PhD studentship and creating both undergraduate and masters level modules focusing on dementia for AHPs.

Wednesday was focused on meeting with around 30 AHPs working in Lothian across NHS services as well as three of the local authorities.  I am working with my AHP Practice Education Lead colleague to train AHPs in Lothian to a minimum of the Skilled Level in the Promoting Excellence framework.  There are around 1900 AHPs in Lothian so we are adopting a “train the trainer” model to allow us to train as many staff as possible.  This is the first cohort of staff who have signed up to be trainers and they are a really motivated and enthusiastic group of staff who will have trained around 250 staff by next summer and 500 by the end of next year.


On Thursday and Friday I had time to catch up with email and telephone calls and to do some much need preparation for various events and training sessions.  My job involves meeting with people from diverse services and the upcoming sessions which I spent time preparing for included Fire and Rescue Service staff involved in providing home fire safety visits and falls champions from NHS, Local authority, care home and leisure services.

I also spent time working on two poster presentations for the Alzheimer Europe Conference (20-22nd October in Glasgow), one on a national project to pilot an occupational therapy intervention in 6 different health boards in Scotland.  The Tailored Activity Programme (TAP) intervention aims to help carers to support the person with dementia to continue to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities using their remaining abilities and compensating for the difficulties caused by their dementia.  This intervention has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce signs of stress and distress and reduce time carers spend in caring tasks.  If you would like any more information on the TAP project please go to

This is just a flavour of some of my work. If you would like more information on my role or on the work of the other AHP Dementia Consultants you can find lots o information including our update reports and the Dementia AHPproaches newsletter which I produce quarterly on our community of practice .  We are all active on twitter too so check out





There is also a weekly blog sharing some of the AHP Dementia work ( for new posts every Thursday morning.


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