A History of Guideposts Trust – Chapter 3

2022 is the 50th anniversary of Guideposts. To mark this special anniversary, we’d like to share the story of our charity: where we started from, the journey we have travelled so far, and a vision for the future of Guideposts Trust.

Although the way we deliver our work has changed over the years, the ethos and values remain the same: helping people build on their strengths, maintain their independence, achieve their aspirations, develop supportive connections and avert isolation and loneliness.

Catch up with previous chapters:

3. Always Striving to Meet Needs

Supporting people with dementia

At the same time as we started implementing our new community-based support approach for people with mental health and learning disabilities, Guideposts became aware of the many issues affecting people facing the challenges of dementia, both in residential care and in the community.

The standards of nursing care were in great need of improvement to support the need of people with dementia living in nursing and/or residential care. To address this, Guideposts came up with the idea of a Teaching Nursing Home and launched its largest appeal yet. The appeal was successful and the Charity was able to build a 30 Bed Home.

Aiming to be a national centre of excellence, Guideposts Teaching Nursing Home carried out research into care practices and provided training for doctors, nurses and care staff into the effects of dementia and how best to care for individuals with the disease. It also offered a wide range of sensory and therapeutic activities through the creation of a purposely designed sensory room, a sensory garden, and a Music Therapy Service. This work inspired the development of many of our services today.

Attached to the Home was Guideposts Care Research Centre. The purpose of the research was to develop a model of care that could be replicable across care homes and domiciliary care providers.

The project was funded by the Department of Health and carried out research in conjunction with the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University. Thirty care homes across England took part in the research, which resulted in the production of Guideposts Dementia Care Development Pack, a comprehensive audit, training and consultancy tool for care providers: the first of its kind in the country.

Cover of Leaflet on Britains First Teaching Nursing Home by Guideposts

Based on this research, Guideposts established DISC, a specialist Dementia Information Service and helpline for Carers. DISC’s main aim was to provide advice and information, and to link carers to relevant support services.

Poster for Dementia Web: The dementia website. Caring for you.

The service evolved into a new, improved service called dementiaweb, in collaboration with other dementia support providers in Oxfordshire and other counties including Kent, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. Dementia Web provided comprehensive information and support to a wider audience including people with dementia, their families and carers, professionals and members of the public. It also developed post-diagnosis handy guides such as Hints and Tips for Carers and personalised local information.

Although dementiaweb was phased out in 2014, Guideposts has continued to offer information, advice and guidance through the Guideposts information line, community based activities, and the contracted Dementia Oxfordshire service in partnership with Age UK.

In our communities, lunch, music, arts, and gardening groups are just a few examples of activities Guideposts offers, to give people with dementia and their carers the chance to take part and enjoy meaningful activities together.

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