Walsall College Hair and Beauty students have become Dementia Champions following a training session delivered by healthcare charity, Kissing it Better, in preparation for their work experience placements at Walsall Manor Hospital.
As part of their respective courses, Level 1 Hair and Level 1 Beauty students are required to gain experience of providing treatments within a real life setting. Walsall College has teamed up with the charity to enable students to give manicures and blow dries to elderly patients at the hospital and develop the skills they are learning on their courses.
The Kissing it Better campaign harnesses the talents of hundreds of students at local colleges, schools and other organised groups to bring benefits to patients, carers, healthcare staff and the volunteers themselves.
Director and co-founder of Kissing it Better, Jill Fraser, explained to the students what it is like to have dementia and a very limited short-term memory. She said: “Dementia is one of the most important health issues we face as our population ages and conversation with patients who have dementia can often be quite challenging at times as they are unable to recall recent events.
“Engaging with patients can really help to lift their spirits so we are delighted the students will be volunteering their time and skills for this good cause.”
Curriculum Manager for Hair and Beauty at Walsall College, Jo Small, commented: “This will be a very rewarding experience for students. As well as helping them to develop their hair and beauty skills, it will also give them an opportunity to expand on their communication skills through talking to people from varying backgrounds, which is a key skill in the industry.”
Following their participation in the two-hour training sessions, students were presented with Dementia Friends Champion badges, which are awarded to volunteers who are committed to making a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community.