In a “pioneering move,” London’s Heathrow Airport has announced that it has become the world’s first ‘dementia-friendly’ airport.
The major international airport is working with national charity the Alzheimer’s Society on a programme that will provide all of its 76,000 staff members with training to enable them to support travelers who are suffering from cognitive conditions such as dementia.
Under the programme, which is called ‘Dementia-friendly communities’ and is part of the Prime Minister’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia, all staff, including security staff, will receive training to help them identify and assist travelers who may have dementia.
As passing through security has been highlighted as one of the most stressful stages of the airport experience, security staff will learn how to reduce people’s anxiety as they complete this important process.
Frontline staff will also undergo in-depth training to help them work more effectively with travelers who have ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia, and designated quiet lounges will be provided to help affected travelers find a calm, safe haven away from potential stressors. A Senior Trained Additional Assistance Role (STAAR) team has also been created and they will receive extra training to help people with dementia and their carers.
The Alzheimer’s Society has said that travelling can be extremely frightening and frustrating for people living with dementia.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the charity, commented: “Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities aim to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia. Alzheimer’s Society is delighted to be working with Heathrow on their commitment to become the world’s first truly global dementia friendly airport.
“We hope their pioneering work will pave the way for all airports the world over to transform the air travel experience for people with dementia and their carers.”
Meanwhile, John Holland-Kaye, the Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, added: “Our vision is to give passengers the best airport service in the world. Airports can be particularly stressful for passengers with dementia so we are delighted to be working with the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Society to make sure that they get the support they need. We have started training our colleagues and making improvements so that we can be the world’s first dementia-friendly airport.”
The unique and innovative programme, which falls in line with wider aims to get businesses across the UK to become ‘dementia-friendly’, could help thousands of people and follows wider airport trends focusing on the health and wellness of passengers.
First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider. They deliver a wide range of high quality training to over 75,000 learners annually, working with thousands of organisations and businesses across all sectors. Their diverse portfolio includes training in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, health and social care and other special focus topics.
Their health and social care range includes Care Certificate Manuals and Level 1 Core Awards for the induction of new workers, Level 2 and 3 Core and Specialist Awards mapped to the CQC fundamental standards and the QCF units as well as further training for managers, supervisors and assessors. Their portfolio includes training in subjects such as Dementia Awareness, Person Centred Care, Dignity in Care, Duty of Care and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults, among others.
Oliver Raisbeck, Managing Director at FRT, says: “Figures suggest that there are around 47 million people currently living with dementia across the world, and it is estimated that this number will rise to 135 million by 2050.
“The global scale of dementia means it is vital that care and support is provided across all walks of life, and that understanding and awareness of dementia becomes more commonplace across businesses and within communities.
“Training is a key way in which people who deliver frontline services can ensure they are able to identify people who may have dementia and can provide appropriate support and assistance to enable them and their carers to lead easier, less stressful and fuller lives.”
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