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Power firm staff train to be Dementia Friends

Every member of the HR team at UK Power Networks has been specially trained as a Dementia Friend, following a huge increase in people with the condition joining the company’s Priority Services Register.

From Press releases - 11 July 2017 12:00 AM

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The power firm, which owns and operates the electricity networks in the East of England, London and the South East, has a free Priority Services Register for households who could benefit from extra support during a power cut because a resident has a specific medical needs, has a young child or is elderly.
The company has signed up to the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme and the entire HR team completed the training programme last week, which explains what it is like to have dementia and ways in which people with dementia can be helped.

UK Power Networks’ directors and senior managers have already become ‘Dementia Friends’ and over the summer almost 6,000 staff will have been coached to understand the needs of customers living with dementia.

HR director Chris Degg said: “We are finding this training to be particularly useful and relevant in today’s society. People often have a personal response to this programme because dementia doesn’t just affect our customers, it affects many of our employees in their personal lives.

“Having completed the training, all 70 members of the HR team can apply what they have learned to improve the lives of everyone they know who is living with dementia.”

Dementia recently overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales and there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Over the past year UK Power Networks has seen a 138% increase in the number customers affected by dementia registering for its free priority service in the event of a power cut. 

Lenny Shallcross, Alzheimer’s Society Head of Community Engagement, said:  “Alzheimer’s Society is delighted that UK Power Network is united against dementia and will create 6,000 new Dementia Friends.
 
“People with dementia are among the most vulnerable in society, so it’s vital that public-facing organisations understand the condition and how their staff can offer help and understanding.”
 

As well as people living with Alzheimers’s, pensioners, parents with small babies, disabled people, hearing and sight-impaired residents and those using medical equipment powered by electricity at home also qualify to join the Priority Services Register.

Those on the register can access extra help services including:
• A 24-hour priority phone number
• A dedicated team who will contact you to keep you updated during a power cut
• Tailored support if needed such as home visits, hot meals, advice and keeping your friends and relatives updated
• In certain scenarios we may also offer a free hotel overnight and transport to the hotel
 
To apply visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, ring 0800 169 9970, or email psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.