B.C. TV program tackles dementia and caregiver safety

WorkSafeBC and Shaw TV television special addresses safety challenges for those caring with dementia

WorkSafeBC has produced a television special with Shaw TV that addresses some of the safety challenges faced by those caring for people with dementia that will run in parts of British Columbia in December.

Dialogue on Dementia: Keeping Safe features a physician, family member, care worker, facility owner and a health and safety specialist each sharing their experiences with dementia-related care.

“The goal for those involved in the show is to promote quality care for dementia patients and to offer strategies to help minimize the safety risks for their caregivers,” said Stephen Symon, WorkSafeBC industry labour and services manager for healthcare. “Providing this discussion through TV allows us to extend these important messages to a wide audience.”

More than 70,000 people in B.C. are estimated to be living with some form of dementia — a number that’s expected to increase to 175,000 in the next 30 years. It is the main reason why people are admitted to long term care, with more than 80 per cent of those having some form of dementia, according to WorkSafeBC.

One in 10 long-term-care workers in B.C. suffers a work-related injury each year, and being hit, grabbed, bitten, and kicked are the common causes of these injuries. Family and caregivers looking after relatives with dementia also face similar risks, said WorkSafeBC.

“I have experienced firsthand some of these aggressive behaviours while working in long-term care for the past 30 years,” said Gordon Freeman, a residential care aide and panel member in the program. “Strategies to deal with these behaviours have changed over the years and it is important that all caregivers are aware of what they can do to create a safe atmosphere for workers and the people they are caring for.”

The 60-minute program is scheduled to air in Metro Vancouver on Shaw TV on Dec. 2 at 5 p.m., Dec. 11 at 9 a.m., Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 11 p.m.

It will also air in regions of B.C. outside of the Lower Mainland on Shaw TV in early 2012. For more information, the booklet Dementia: Understanding Risk and Preventing Violence and the video Working with Dementia: Safe Work Practices for Caregivers are available at www.WorkSafeBC.com.

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