Empowered Conversations is a communication training programme for the carers of people living with dementia and others involved in the provision of their support and care. The initial idea came from a conversation as to how empathic curiosity (McEvoy & Plant, 2014) and emotional intelligence could potentially enhance communication with people living with dementia (Yates-Bolton, 2011). To translate this knowledge into the day-to day experiences of carers and people living with dementia funding was secured for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership from Innovate UK.
Strategies such as ‘invitation to respond’, empathic listening and harnessing a curious attitude are included in the programme. Three versions of Empowered Conversations have now been developed; face-to-face, musical and on-line. Empowered Conversations is being delivered as part of a regional teaching care homes project in the UK. The Welsh ambulance services have commissioned the delivery of Empowered Conversations to their frontline and support staff. The Empowered Conversations approach is being used in an evaluation of 40 dementia friendly community projects in Scotland; as an approach to focus groups which include people living with dementia. A subsequent mixed methods study of the impact of Empowered Conversations is due for completion June 2020.