Accreditations & Programmes

Gold Standards Framework


GSF was originally developed in 2000 as a grass roots initiative to improve primary palliative care from within primary care. It was developed by Dr Keri Thomas, a GP with a special interest in Palliative Care, supported by a multidisciplinary reference group of specialists and generalists. It was first piloted in Yorkshire in 2001 in Phase 1, followed by a national phased programme supported by the NHS, Macmillan and more recently the DH End of Life Care Programme. An intrinsic element of the work has been the internal and external evaluations, originally using questionnaires and more recently the on-line After Death Analysis audit tool, plus several independent University based evaluations, which contributed to the further development of the work. National spread was enabled through a strategic national cascade plan with the GSF Central Team supporting local facilitators, enabling best implementation of the work, overseeing training and audit plus developing further adaptations and resources.

GSF has developed and expanded over the last nine years to meet the challenge of end of life care, in the light of the NHS End of Life Care Strategy in England and the growing acceptance of its importance within health and social care in our country. International use has also increased with interest from over 13 countries and pilots in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Belgium, Holland etc

The work is now based at the National GSF Centre in the West Midlands, and led by Prof Keri Thomas (National Clinical Lead for the GSF Centre and Hon Professor End of Life Care, University of Birmingham) with a small central team of very committed clinicians plus admin support, Clinical Associates and reference groups.

The Sonas™ Programme

The Sonas™ Programme is used within the London Region and is an effective, evidence-based therapeutic activity for people who have significant communication impairment, primarily as a result of dementia. The programme involves cognitive, sensory and social stimulation. The aim is to activate each participant’s potential for communication, thereby enhancing quality of life.

Namaste Care program

Namaste Care is a programme designed to improve the quality of life for people with advanced dementia. Namaste, is a Hindu term meaning “to honour the spirit within” and was selected to describe a programme that brings honour to people who can no longer tell us who they are or who they were or care for themselves without assistance.

Namaste Care takes place in a designated space that helps to create a safe and comforting environment for all who enter; people that use our service, their families and staff.  This seven day a week programme provides a wide range of meaningful activities that help bring pleasure to people with advanced dementia or that have other physical or mental impairments. Hand and foot massage, brushing or combing a persons hair with slow movements and moisturizing the ladies faces with “Ponds” cold cream, a scent they may remember from their youth, are a few ways that bring pleasure when done with a loving touch. Resistance to shaving that many men display because they do not realize that they need to be shaved disappears when shaving is accomplished the “old fashioned” way with shaving cream and “Old Spice” after shave lotion.

Scents of the season are used to provide sensory stimulation. Flowers that are in bloom, like lilacs in the spring, produce smiles as well as the scent of cinnamon in the fall and winter. Almost everyone will smile when someone is blowing bubbles or may be wearing an outlandish hat! Moving arms and legs to music helps keep limbs flexible. Nourishment and beverages are offered throughout the day so that people with a diminished appetite have more opportunities to eat and drink.

Namaste Care can be offered in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities or as part of a hospice programme.  For more details about this programme read “The End-of-Life Namaste Care Programme for People with Dementia”.

Dementia Care Matters

Dementia Care Matters works in partnership with organisations on strategic projects which bring all elements of our Model of Care together into an holistic approach. The aim of the partnership is to develop a care service into a Dementia Care Matters ‘Butterfly Service’ and take advantage of the benefits that previous and current projects report.

To include:

Increased well-being.

Evidence of quality of life outcomes for regulators.

Reduced staff turnover, sickness & absenteeism

Decreased falls & safeguarding alerts.

Achieving peoples’ weight gain.

Business advantage through reputation.

A project would span twelve months. A project provides the opportunity to implement a holistic approach to improving the culture of care. A project provides a focus on improving the lived experience for people living with a dementia through a mix of the methods described in this webpage.

Projects begin with an audit carried out by two Dementia Care Matters Consultants to evaluate the lived experience of people with a dementia in the care setting. A comprehensive report and action plan will be provided from the findings of the audit.

The action plan will then provide the basis for an agreement between the two organisations regarding the most appropriate mix of consultancy support, direct coaching and training.

This will be scoped by our Consultant Trainers working directly with the manager to achieve a realistic outcome.

The Butterfly Project will provide a comprehensive approach to ensuring the Model of Care is finally embedded and sustained usually requiring a twelve month project. However it is recognised that for smaller care services with limited resources this may not be possible and Dementia Care Matters would help to seed the new Model leaving key people in the organisation to continue to develop the approach.

Dementia Action Alliance


The Dementia Action Alliance was founded in October 2010 with the philosophy of ‘I will if you will’ and currently has over 700 organisations working towards transforming the lives of people living with dementia and those who care for them. Members are united behind the National Dementia Declaration for England and the Alliance is supported by the Secretariat, funded by members and its work is guided by a board who are hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society. Each member has their action plan published, outlining how they plan to deliver their declaration. Quarterly updates and annual reports are published outlining achievements and members meet regularly to share good practice and promote joint activity.