The Virtual Dementia Tour - often known as ‘the dementia bus’ visited
Busnes@LlandrilloMenai sites at Abergele, Bangor and Dolgellau, giving
students and staff a unique opportunity to experience first-hand how it
might feel to suffer with dementia.
The Autism Reality Experience then visited the same sites, offering a
chance for participants to experience the sensory overload that people
with Autism Spectrum Disorder can often face.
The immersive experiences were provided by Training2Care, and were supported by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Innovation Fund.
Amy Thomas, Health and Social Care work-based learning manager for
Busnes@LlandrilloMenai, organised the visits and described them as “a
powerful experience”. She felt it would be hugely beneficial to
apprentices learning to care for people with either dementia or autism.
The feedback from students and staff was overwhelmingly positive,
with many highlighting the insight it had given them into what it’s like
to live with the conditions they are learning to care for.
Amy said: “I wanted to make the most of this innovative opportunity
and give all our learners an experience that would inform their
knowledge and increase their understanding.
“It was good for the learners who work with dementia to learn more
about autism, and vice versa. Equally, those who already have experience
working with patients and clients with complex needs had the full
sensory experience to help inform their practice too.
“In their evaluations, people said it really got them thinking about
the work they do, and that it was good to have had a realistic
experience of what it’s like to have dementia. I did it myself and it
was a powerful experience.”
Megan Lowe, a student on the higher apprenticeships in Health &
Social Care, said: “The experience was brilliant. It gave an insight of
how it feels to be living with autism and the difficulty that people can
experience in their day-to-day life.”
Emma Jones, who is on the same course, said: “I enjoyed the
experience, it has given me a better understanding of how difficult the
day-to-day lives of people living with autism can be.’’
Hannah Lloyd, assessor and Internal quality assurer for Health &
Social Care, said: “The dementia bus gave me a small insight into what
it's like to be on a dementia journey. It helped me understand how
simple tasks can be so difficult and how frustrating it can be for a
person living with dementia.”
Elysha Westwell, assessor and internal quality assurer for Health
& Social Care, said: “As a new member of staff, the dementia bus was
really informative and I think it was a great tool to use for our
learners. It was also a great way to enhance my CPD.”