Encore Care Homes is the first care group in Dorset to offer a Virtual Dementia Tour, which provides care and health professionals with an inside look into what it’s like to live with dementia, and training on the best ways to support someone suffering with the disease.

Encore manages three care homes in Dorset and Hampshire. Great Oaks, Encore’s latest addition, welcomed local healthcare professionals from across the county and members of the community, to learn and experience first-hand how patients living with dementia feel.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is a fully immersive experience that uses specifically designed clothing and equipment, which affects the vision and hearing of participants.  The specialist equipment replicates some of the symptoms of mid-range dementia.

The tour is run by Training 2 Care and is owned by the non-profit company Second Wind Dreams.  The tour is medically and scientifically proven to be the closest way a healthy brain is able to experience the effects of dementia.

Izzy Nicholls, operations and quality director of Encore, said: “We feel it is so important to offer free Virtual Dementia Tour training to care professionals and members of the public to promote the understanding of what it is like to live with dementia. This understanding can change the way residents with dementia are cared for and therefore improve their quality of life.

Dementia is not only about memory loss, it deprives all the senses and can severely affect vision, hearing and touch creating a world of fear and confusion. The Virtual Dementia Tour changes the way both healthcare professionals and family members think about dementia and helps support them in communicating and connecting with their loved ones.  Participants have described the tour as scary, intimidating, confusing and feeling vulnerable – however, they have also commented on what an eye-opening experience this truly is and how it has completely changed their perception of dementia.

We are proud to host this revolutionary training within Dorset. It is our ambition to become a dementia resource for the community and to educate society on how to care and communicate better with those who live with dementia.”

Great Oaks will hold future free Virtual Dementia Tour training on Tuesday, December 5. Places are limited and will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Please call 01202 476960 or email dementiatour@greatoaksbournemouth.co.uk to book your space.