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‘Appreciative Friday’ helps show staff how much they are valued

Queen’s Nurse’s social media messages for staff and families caring for people with dementia

Queen’s Nurse’s social media messages of thanks for staff and families caring for people with dementia


Queen’s Nurse Lorraine Haining: ‘Staff are our greatest asset and they need to be valued.’
Picture: Mike Wilkinson

Introducing ‘appreciative Friday’ at one NHS trust has helped staff, family and carers of people with dementia feel valued.

Queen’s Nurse Lorraine Haining, last year’s winner of the RCNi Nursing Older People award, decided to post a weekly message on social media to thank her staff and family carers for their support for people with dementia.

Thanking staff and families for caring

Until recently, Ms Haining ran the multidisciplinary Interventions for Dementia, Education, Assessment and Support (IDEAS) team at NHS Dumfries and Galloway. The IDEAS team helps people to manage stress and distress in dementia and delivers a training programme for care home staff, carers, district nurses, social workers and others, as well as running a clinical caseload.

‘Every week, on the IDEAS Facebook page, I would send a message thanking staff and families for caring,' Ms Haining told nurses at the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland annual conference on 3 April.

Ms Haining, now an independent dementia nurse consultant, said the posts included positive affirmations, advice and favourite quotes and pictures. ‘Sometimes we would invite a guest “presenter” and people started sending me things to put on the page,’ she said.

‘Staff are our greatest asset and they need to be valued. How can we ask staff to apply person-centred care, if we don't apply same to [them]?’

The ‘love’ blanket

Ms Haining said the Appreciative Friday project sparked an idea to ask staff and families to help create a giant knitted ‘love’ blanket to represent the fact that people with dementia, their carers and staff need to be comforted and nurtured. 

Following a social media appeal, more than 2,500 knitted or crocheted squares were donated from across Scotland and Northern Ireland. ‘The response was phenomenal,’ she said. ‘No one could believe how powerful it had been.’

She added that using social media had been a really successful way to support staff. The IDEAS facebook page attracted more than 600 followers during the course of the love blanket appeal.


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