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Employee of the Year Diane continues her mum's legacy

Published 13/01/2016

A Derby Teaching Hospitals employee who cared for her mother through 11 years of Alzheimer’s Disease has been continuing her mum’s legacy by helping others to gain a better understanding of the condition.  

Pharmacy and Finance Officer Diane Roberts trained to become a Dementia Champion following the death of her mum Sheila, and has since helped more than 250 staff members to become Dementia Friends, and learn what life is like for someone living with the condition.

She has now been named as Employee of the Year for the Trust, in recognition of her efforts to improve hospital visits for patients, relatives and staff.

She said: “The Dementia Friend sessions helps people to have a little more understanding and more compassion towards people living with dementia. The way it is put across helps you understand what it’s like for someone living with dementia. It was illuminating for me, even though my family had been living with dementia for 11 years. It helped me have a better understanding of what it was like for Mum.

“I think everybody at the Trust should go through Dementia Friends sessions, as I think it has a big impact on patients. It could make them and their families feel a bit more comfortable when they come to the hospital.

“I’m very proud to be Employee of the Year, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything out of the ordinary. We’ve had such great feedback from staff who have done the sessions, and they have been so enthusiastic, that I think everyone should do it.”

Diane, 57, who lives in Chaddesden, knows from her own experience how important it is for staff at the hospital to have some understanding of dementia, after seeing how people responded to her mum when she was living with dementia.

 “It would have made a big difference if there had been more Dementia Friends around then. I like to think that by helping people, we are making a difference to people in that situation now,” Diane said.

The Dementia Friends scheme was set up by the Alzheimer’s Society a few years ago, as a way to alter people’s perceptions of dementia. People who take part are encouraged to find out more about how dementia affects people and the small ways in which they can help those who are living with the condition.

There are more than 300 Dementia Friends working at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and more staff are getting involved all the time.


Last Modified 16/02/2016