Themis at Burnley College welcomes local employers Iris Suite launch

As part of Dementia Awareness Week 2014, Themis at Burnley College welcomed more than 45 local employers to the launch of The Iris Suite - its new specialist dementia education and training facility.

The Iris Suite, funded by Burnley College and located at its campus on Princess Way, has been specially designed, in partnership with local care providers, with the varied needs of dementia sufferers in mind. It provides a state-of-the-art learning and training environment for students and apprentices on a variety of health and social care programmes provided by Themis and Burnley College.

The equipment, supplied by mobility and care specialists Millercare and AKW, is arranged into four main areas that replicate a typical home. The supporting independence kitchen, dementia friendly dining area, bedroom and bathroom are equipped with cutting edge furniture and equipment such as a glass fronted fridge and wardrobe to help patients see what is inside, a sink that can be lowered for wheelchair users and a dementia friendly mirror.

Students and apprentices also have access to a full range of lifting equipment and an interactive dummy, along with a variety of tools that aid dementia sufferers with memory recollection and participation in activities.

Pauline Deeming, matron at Oaklands Nursing Home said: "The Iris Suite is an innovative teaching aid, giving students the opportunity of developing awareness of how clients with dementia see the world around us, as well as the skills of developing the environment around the client and enhancing their daily living."

Guests were welcomed to the event by head of health and social Development at Burnley College, Jayne Hodson and BBC Radio Lancashire’s Sally Naden, a long-time supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society. Guests also attended a presentation by East Lancs Health Care Trust Dementia Leads Sandra Nuttall and Caroline Otieno outlining new NHS initiatives on caring for people with dementia. The event then culminated with a tour of the Iris suite itself. Jayne Hodson, head of health and social development at Burnley College, said: “The Iris Suite at Burnley College will be invaluable to our students, apprentices and local employers in training people to understand the full range of symptoms and the differences in the difficulties experienced by dementia sufferers. Here at Themis and Burnley College we’re sure it will make a real difference to the way dementia training is delivered in East Lancashire.”