One of the most valuable learning experiences for us when we first started was the opportunity for a ten to fifteen minute debrief at the end of each session once the participants had left. We were working with a hospital team with deep knowledge and experience with dementia, and with the specific participants in the program. We had the chance to pose questions or problems we have experienced that session for immediate feedback, and we heard their observations and advice.
The experience was so powerful that we have continued this habit through all of our programs. Sharing your feelings and observations with someone else immediately is a great way to identify success, troubleshoot issues and to hear another’s observations. Many of our facilitators also keep journals of reflections, observations and ideas for ‘next time’. We also keep a shared journal of notes and observations made by one of the support volunteers that can be used for training, research, evaluation, grants, and publication.
Two or three sets of eyes are much better than one!