Guest speakers for our forthcoming dementia event


Dr Ilona Johnson

Ilona is a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Dental Public Health. She is the Deputy Director for Assessment across all taught programmes and is the lead for student experience and engagement within the School of Dentistry. Ilona's role involves teaching, research and Dental Public Health consultant practice. She is an avid learner and teacher with a particular enthusiasm for developing innovative educational opportunities and learning experiences. This year Ilona was awarded a prestigious Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.

Ilona is a keen advocate of working across disciplines to break down barriers to care for older adults and people with special care needs. Her PhD focused on nurses’ psychological emotions and how these influence oral care provision for adults in hospital. Since then she has continued to focus on health and care improvement for vulnerable people and those in care.

“This is a very exciting event as so many disciplines are coming together to talk about care. Modern day care involves lots of teams working to provide care. This educational event is a fantastic opportunity to learn, improve our understanding of the patient and their journey and hopefully improve how we work together. The whole session is particularly special as it is built around the patient and their journey. The patient is at the heart of everything we are doing”.

Ilona will play a key role during the event by sharing with the audience participants' feedback from the live Twitter feed #DementiaWorkingTogether.

See below for details of the healthcare professionals who will be speaking at the holistic dementia event.

Rachel Beckett

Rachel is a practice based pharmacist employed by Caldicot Medical Group, a large (approx. 20,000 patients) GP practice in south Monmouthshire. Prior to this she spent a year as an NCN pharmacist in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Rachel has spent a large proportion of her career working in the field of Geriatrics and Intermediate Care, both in Cardiff and Vale UHB and University Hospitals Bristol.  As Medicines Management Lead for the Cardiff and Vale Dementia Taskforce she led the delivery of the medicines management component of the Dementia Strategy, highlighting key issues such as antipsychotic review, anticholinesterases and compliance.

Rachel commented, "What an exciting opportunity to liaise with other healthcare professionals in the care and delivery of services to people living with dementia. Medicines management is a key component and impacts on all aspects of care. Discussing how we as a healthcare team manage these issues will ultimately lead to improved adherence and outcomes."

Dr Emyr Roberts

Emyr is a General Dental Practitioner and principal practice owner in Cardiff. He is also a part time lecturer and clinical teacher at Cardiff University. 

Emyr commented, "The holistic care for people living with dementia is very important to me. I have personal experience and treated patients for whom a better integrated service between professionals would improve their quality of living with this increasingly common and devastating disease for patients and their families".

Mick Allen

Mick is a Consultant in Special Care Dentistry for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and a Clinical Advisor to both Cardiff and Vale UHB and the Wales Government General Dental Service and Dental Sedation/GA reform processes. He has past careers as a University teacher and General Dental Practitioner and in 2016 created, with his practice team, the first ever GDS Employee-Owned Enterprise with his GDS practice in Abergavenny becoming owned by all the staff.

With regards to the holistic dementia event, Mick commented, "Dementia is important to all of us on both professional and personal levels and is one of our greatest health challenges. By better working across disciplines, people living with dementia will receive more effective care. Early involvement is critical to allow prevention and planning to take place and individual wishes about care to be expressed.

"The natural home for this type of working, and for many aspects of Special Care Dentistry, is within Clusters/NCNs allowing care for more complex patients to take place nearer home with access to specialist care being available when needed. This event will be an excellent opportunity to understand how others work, to envisage how care might look and to break down barriers."

Dr Nik Sheen

Nik is an Optometrist with a research background in glaucoma and ophthalmic imaging. He is the Clinical Lead for the Eye Health Examinations Wales service and set up the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC) in 2012.

Nik teaches on postgraduate taught modules and is the Chair of the Continuing Education and Training Advisory group for the General Optical Council

"Dementia and other cognitive impairment is often poorly managed in Optometry practice due to a lack of understanding and time to spend with patients. Furthermore, communicating with other healthcare professionals about such patients is often restricted to basic information letters only if they have eye conditions. Personally, I want this to be the start of a collaborative effort to increase awareness and education about these conditions to all healthcare providers and those that care for patients in other settings such as nursing homes."

Dr Chris Price

Chris has been a GP in Cwmbran for the last 28 years and has worked at the Wales Deanery for 23 years. He has a particular interest in CPD and Appraisal and is Deputy Director of the Deanery's Revalidation Support Unit.

Chris is also interested in evidence-based medicine and runs Tripdatabase, a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. This on-line evidence-based website is used around the world. 

With regards the holistic dementia event, Chris says, "I am looking forward to the multidisciplinary nature of the event and the discussions that will arise. I hope we can produce a useful community of care for people living with dementia."

Sue Brewin

Sue is an Associate Trainer with the Alzheimer's Society. She worked alongside people living with dementia within a residential setting between 1995 and 2000, before taking a position with the Alzheimer's Society as a Development Worker where she set up services for people living with dementia and their carers in rural areas of Nottinghamshire. A year later Sue trained to be a trainer and has been facilitating training sessions ever since.

In 2012 Sue took a role with the Training and Consultancy team at the Alzheimer’s Society where she delivered training and developed programmes. Sue has since continued in this role as a freelance trainer and consultant. In 2014 Sue's extensive knowledge and experience of dementia was showcased in her writing of 'Stepping Inside Dementia', now a best-selling course for the Alzheimer's Society. Her work has also taken her overseas where she has facilitated dementia awareness sessions in Alicante, Cyprus and Lisbon on behalf of the British Consulate.

Sue worked in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care to develop a training package to enable bereavement support volunteers to work alongside people living with dementia experiencing loss. Sue also developed and delivered training for the Amateur Swimming Association to support staff in delivering dementia friendly swimming sessions

Sue commented, "My goal is to ensure that the training I deliver is accessible, jargon free and informed by people who live with dementia."

Information about the holistic dementia event can be found here.

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