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21 November 2023

Care home staff benefit from VR Dementia Experience training

Edinburgh College’s Health and Social Care team has delivered virtual reality (VR) training to staff from Cramond Residence care home to support them when working with people living with dementia.

Colleagues from the care home visited the College’s Digital Care Hub within Sighthill Campus to take part in the unique learning experience which allowed them to see the world through the eyes of someone living with dementia.

The VR programme allows participants to experience hallucinations, patterns and lines coming alive around them, and memory loss – some of the typical effects of the condition – through a VR headset.

The VR Dementia Care programme gives students a unique insight into the practical care that is needed for people living with dementia, whilst also providing them with a more engaging learning experience that will set them up for a successful career in care.

We caught up with Ross Bijak, Cramond Residence General Manager, about the training experience in the Q&A below.

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh College?

The Cramond Residence has a long-standing good relationship with the College, whereby we utilise several training opportunities for the staff within the organisation.

What key things did you learn during the training?

One of the most rewarding and beneficial areas of learning was the visual perception experience that the virtual reality training provided for an individual living with dementia. It provided an immersive opportunity that general teaching and education cannot fully provide.

How will the training support you in your current role and with your future career ambitions?

I believe this training enhances the staff’s ability to empathise more with the residents living with dementia. Although we provide dementia education in-house, refreshment of knowledge and as above, the different perception virtual reality education can provide should only improve the staff’s understanding and awareness.

Would you recommend this training to others?

Yes, in particular those who lack any knowledge and understanding of dementia. I would certainly recommend the virtual experience for all staff who have an understanding however they wouldn’t necessary require the basic understanding of dementia.

How does Edinburgh College professional training support the strategic aims of your organisation?

We aim to support over 150 staff to develop their knowledge and skills no matter what discipline they are employed under. The vast educational opportunities the College provides enables an organisation like ours to support staff education. Examples are, the virtual dementia training, mental health awareness, team building and collaboration, SVQ development and many other managerial supervisor opportunities.