National project to roll out life story training

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National project to roll out life story training

Your Story Matters is a national project developed by the The Life Story Network C.I.C and funded by the Department of Health to support the delivery of new ways of working to realise dementia friendly communities with well trained staff. The development and use of Life Stories is one of the keys to delivering person centred care by placing the individual and their biography at the heart of care and support. It provides people with a practical set of tools to help them engage with the real person and see them beyond their illness, disability or diagnosis, thus ensuring that their basic human rights, are acknowledged and respected.

Your Story Matters is to be delivered across England during 2011/2012

Your Story Matters aims to:

  • Establish a national network of people who are trained to deliver a training course on implementing the use of life story- through the facilitation of a managed learning network utilising action learning, coaching and peer support;
  • Produce a comprehensive set of training materials to embed the use of life stories for paid staff, volunteers and carers;
  • Support learning networks of people trained in using life story with the development of new materials and the dissemination of new and existing products, to intergenerational multi organisation work, voluntary groups, care providers.
  • Deliver awareness and training on the Human Rights Act and the legal duty placed on public bodies to be compliant with the Act

Rolling out the training across England, it is envisaged that this will achieve sustainable transformational cultural change by engaging with leaders in organisations engaged in the training, such that providers will collect robust evidence on the effectiveness in the use of life story work and its contribution to;

  • The reduction in the use of anti-psychotics
  • The delivery of the personalisation agenda
  • Embedding a human rights based approach
  • Influencing outcome based commissioning

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

"Improving education and training on dementia is key to delivering the National Dementia Strategy. Your Story Matters is an innovative project that will make a real difference to the care given to people with dementia. It will help staff and volunteers see every person as an individual, looking beyond their dementia."

Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia, said:

"Life Story work is a fantastic intervention which underscores a person-centred approach to the care of people with dementia, by allowing conversations to be initiated. This is a great, innovative project."

Jean Tottie, Chair of The Life Story Network C.I.C commented

"Today's news of funding by the department of health for Your Story Matters underlines our belief in the importance and impact life story work can have in the delivery and experiences of care for people with dementia. We are delighted to be delivering such a high profile project that carries so much potential. By the end of the project 500 new life stories will have been created. It is important that we capture the learning and impact of this work and I'm pleased to be able to announce that an evaluation will be carried out by the Social Policy Research Unit during the lifetime of the Your Story Matters project."

Parallel to the project, an evaluation of the project will be conducted by the Social Policy Research Unit at York University

*The Life Story Network C.I.C is a community interest company registered in England and Wales at Companies House. Company Number 7444875

For more information on the The Life Story Network C.I.C visit

Information for Editors

Life Story Work and the National Dementia Strategy

The National Dementia Strategy (NDS) "Living well with Dementia" (Department of Health, 2009) sets out the vision for improving dementia care services. Objective 13 of the strategy - "An informed and effective workforce for people with dementia" - requires significant improvement in the training and education of health and social care staff at all levels and in all sectors. The revised implementation plan Quality outcomes for people with dementia: building on the work of the NDS (Department of Health, 2010), focuses on accelerating the pace of improvement in dementia care. This can only be achieved with a workforce which is trained and dementia friendly. Skills for Health and Skills for Care's recent publication, The Common Core Principles for Supporting People with Dementia (Skills for Care & Skills for Health, 2011) will support local organisations in developing their own dementia strategies.

The Life Story Network C.I.C believe that the use of Life Stories, utilising a human rights-based approach, will support the adoption of the eight principles.

Life Story work aims to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of people by enabling them to document and share their life story in whatever means is best for them. Examples include written script, photographs, computer file, memory boxes, audio tapes or DVD. It is their story and puts them firmly in the centre. It is a vehicle for purposeful and respectful communication between the individual concerned and staff who are working with them to provide personal care and support.

There is emerging practice based evidence that the use of life stories can reduce the use of antipsychotics.

This project is strategically aligned with a number of initiatives to improve dementia care. It is aimed to enable the development of capability and capacity of front line staff, strategic leaders and commissioners in accelerating the pace of change of person centred care for people with dementia and their carers.