The Senses in Practice: Enhancing the quality of care for residents with dementia in care homes

Christine Brown Wilson, Caroline Swarbrick, Mark Pilling, John Keady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Aim.  The study aimed to develop, deliver, and evaluate a training programme in care homes to enhance the quality of care for people living with dementia based on the principles of relationship-centred care expressed through the Senses Framework.

Background.  There are increasing numbers of people living with dementia worldwide with a growing proportion requiring residential long-term care. This makes the quest for enhancing the quality of care and quality of life for people with dementia ever more pressing.

Design.  A mixed-methods design was used adopting a Practice Development approach. The findings from one care home in the North West of England are reported.

Methods.  Eight facilitated workshops based on the principles of relationship-centred care were completed and evaluated in 2010, using pre- and postintervention design. A focus group was undertaken with staff on completion of the study to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the practice/training context, augmented by case examples of changes in practice identified from the study workshops.

Results.  Structured questionnaires were used to profile the care home before and after the training. Following the workshops, staff felt more able to collect and use biographical information. In particular, staff reported how this information supported them to initiate meaningful conversations with the person with dementia as part of everyday care routines, thus improving overall feelings of well-being.

Conclusion.  Using a biographical approach to care planning structured through the Senses Framework helped staff to develop a greater understanding of the person with dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Early online date30 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Dementia
  • Care homes
  • Practice Development
  • Staff Education


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