Award-winning dementia film on YouTube

Monday 31 March 2014

A still from Barbara's Story film

Barbara’s Story, a dementia training film that has changed attitudes around the world, is being made publicly available.

The film was the brainchild of Chief Nurse Eileen Sills and colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Its aim was to raise awareness of dementia among all 13,200 staff at the Trust – clinical and non-clinical. 

Barbara’s Story follows a fictional patient who has symptoms of dementia, and explores the challenges she faces when she comes into contact with NHS staff at home and in hospital.

Since the first film was launched in 2012, five more episodes have been made. Barbara’s Story is being used to train staff in hospitals nationally and across the world including USA, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and Qatar.

Eileen Sills says: “A quarter of patients in UK hospitals have dementia and the number is growing. We needed to do more for these patients, which is why we embarked on a campaign to raise awareness of dementia for all the staff in our hospitals and working in the community. 

“There has been incredible feedback from the film. It’s really touched everyone from porters to consultants. Ultimately we wanted every member of staff to feel confident and empowered to recognise and support our care for our most vulnerable patients.

“Dementia is a universal issue. We now want the film to be easily accessible to everyone around the world as nearly all of us will be affected by dementia in some way – whether that’s through our jobs, in our personal lives, or we develop it ourselves.”

Barbara’s Story made a big impression on Annette Jones, a radiographer who specialises in fetal heart scanning at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Annette says: “My 92-year-old mother has dementia. The film was incredibly moving for me. Taking my mother into our local hospital was a really traumatic experience. We all have a lot to learn about dementia.

“To think that a film with such powerful messages has come from the Trust I work for makes me feel proud. It encourages people to ‘see the ‘me’ in dementia’, so people understand that there is a valued person behind the dementia. On behalf of my mother, I’m extremely grateful.”

Chris Godwin, Creative Director of White Boat TV, who produced all six of the films, says: “Our aim wasn’t to preach to staff but to show the patients’ perspective and the effect small kindnesses can have. It has been a huge privilege to be involved in Barbara’s Story.”

The film was used as an example of practice to follow in the Government’s response to the Francis Report, and it won the Excellence in Dementia Care category at the prestigious CHKS Top Hospital Award

Evaluation carried out by South Bank University found that Barbara’s Story made a lasting impression on staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and led to a change in how they do their job. 

Watch the video

Barbara, the whole story, can now be watched on YouTube

Last updated: March 2014

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