Video series about dementia caregivers receives international recognition

An Island Health video series created for family caregivers of people with dementia disorders has received awards from two different organizations in recognition of the videos’ high quality and value as a learning tool. 

Sharing the Journey: Practical Approaches to Caring for a Loved One With Dementia,  is an 18-part video series for family caregivers that offers practical advice to help them respond to new challenges while maintaining meaningful and healthy relationships with their loved ones. 

The 18-month project was developed by Island Health’s Distributed Multimedia Systems team in collaboration with family caregivers and experts in the field of dementia care.  The series was selected from more than 400 entries to receive a silver award at the Health Information Resource Centre’s spring Digital Health Awards, which honours the world’s best digital health resources. 

“A big congratulations to the multimedia and digital team at Island Health for creating this series for families facing the journey of caring for loved ones with dementia,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “It’s a great honour for them to be recognized, and this represents the innovation and outreach we strive for in the health system.” 

Michael Fountain, Island Health Digital Media Consultant, also received an Award of Distinction from the 2019 Videographer Awards in recognition of his work leading the production and editing the series. The international competition received more than 1,500 entries from 13 countries. 

The video series reflects the lived experiences of caregivers who participated in the project.

"The involvement of caregivers who shared their personal experiences and knowledge makes these videos authentic and impactful,” said Cheryl Damstetter, Vice President of Priority Populations & Initiatives for Island Health.  “Our hope is that these videos will help families who are navigating life with dementia. We’re very grateful to everyone who helped make this project a reality.”

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation provided $80,000 to fund the video project.  

“We have the profound role of being stewards to the generous donors in our community who choose to champion health care  – we are grateful to the individuals who supported this initiative. It is an important element of health care in our community,” says Victoria Hospitals Foundation acting Executive Director, Avery Brohman. “We extend our deepest gratitude and congratulations to Island Health for this powerful video series.”

The videos were designed to reflect the unique experiences and challenges experienced by family caregivers. "Many family caregivers have said providing a better quality of life for loved ones is the most important job in life. But there are unique stresses that go with caregiving that can have an impact on the wellbeing of the caregiver, and their capacity to continue over time,” said Sandra Somers, a retired Senior’s Health nurse and clinical advisor to the project. 

“This video series recognizes the critical role of the family caregiver and provides education to improve the capacity of caregivers to support their loved ones throughout their care journey, while maintaining their own health and well-being."

Each video segment is just a few minutes long and focuses on a specific topic, such as wandering, communicating with health-care professionals, or self-care for caregivers. The segments include advice from health-care professionals, interviews with real-life caregivers and short scenarios performed by actors to demonstrate different responses.  The videos are free to watch on the Island Health website and YouTube channel.

About the Victoria Hospitals Foundation:
The Victoria Hospitals Foundation works in partnership with Island Health to enable donations to every area of care at Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road hospitals. As Island Health’s charitable partner, we raise donations for medical equipment, special projects, education and research. For more information, call the Foundation at 250-519-1750 or visit www.victoriahf.ca.

About Island Health:
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 800,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 22,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

Central/North Island media inquiries:
Dominic Abassi
250.755-7966
Dominic.Abassi@viha.ca

Cowichan/South Island media inquiries:
Cheryl Bloxham
250.370.8878
Cheryl.Bloxham@viha.ca