I was very pleased this month to hear from a university lecturer who wanted to inform herself about the Butterfly Scheme because it had been placed on the curriculum she taught. How refreshing that, instead of guessing what she should be talking about or taking third-hand accounts of the Scheme, she actually took the trouble to get in touch and obtain accurate information! When we spoke, she mentioned in passing that her only information until then had been from a book – yet I’ve never been asked to provide information for a book, so goodness knows whether what that book said was accurate or not!

Regular readers of this column will know that I become very frustrated by the way some people attempt to sum up what the Butterfly Scheme is – most notoriously the concept of an “identification scheme”. Urgh! How on earth would identification constitute a scheme? At best, simple identification would be an admin tool, but certainly not a scheme – and how it would improve dementia care I’ll leave those people to unravel! Simply identifying people with dementia could so easily make the situation worse, especially if staff feel negative about dementia. Central to any tool designed (not guessed at – actually designed!) to improve dementia care is the very care approach itself. It should be around that care approach that any admin functions are built – and they need to be integrated, rather than simply tagged on as an afterthought.

Anyway, it was most enjoyable to spend time ensuring that this particular lecturer knew the basis for the Scheme and the key facts about its design and delivery. Naturally, she won’t be teaching the actual content of the Scheme’s care approach, but she’ll be able to explain its background and how the care approach came about. She was a qualified educator, rather than someone who simply ended up with the job of teaching people – and, as an experienced, qualified teacher myself, I could tell that very quickly. She understood how education worked and how learning happened, followed the description of the design of the Butterfly Scheme and understood why it was so effective in its education. I’m convinced that she will now teach that topic accurately and usefully.

If anyone out there is planning to talk to others about the Butterfly Scheme – or write an item about it – please, please do get in touch. I’d much rather help you get it right than have you passing on inaccurate or misleading information – because there’s already quite enough of that out there!