Dementia patient & carer

A free training package aimed at educating health and social care workforces about dementia is now available thanks to academics from the University of Bedfordshire.

Developed by the Dementia Academic Action Group (DAAG) and launched by Health Education England through a collaboration between Bedfordshire, Oxford Brookes University, University of Northampton and University of West London, the Tier 1 training package provides a basic introduction to dementia, focusing on how it affects people and their loved ones.

Commissioned and facilitated by Health Education England Thames Valley (HEE TV), the two-year project has developed an evidence-based training package that will aim to improve professional knowledge, service delivery and provision for people with dementia.

Part of the project included a review of existing dementia awareness training. The findings were then used to develop a training package that could be used to provide training to people who work with those with dementia.

Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing and Dementia Lead, Melsina Makaza, works in the School of Healthcare Practice at Bedfordshire University and jointly led phase 2 which piloted the training package to over 1,500 clinical and non-clinical staff working in a variety of health and social settings in 2015. These settings included GP practices, medical centres, social services, private and third sector organisations such as care homes as well as universities.

“People often have this misconception that when someone gets dementia, that’s it, the person is gone. It’s sometimes seen as a death sentence. But that’s not true. The person is still there and we need to make sure health and social care professionals at every level know how best to help them in a person-centred way,” said Melsina.

The DAAG Tier 1 training information and package is now available free on the hee.nhs.uk website.  It can be delivered to any health and social care staff group, including doctors, nurses, GPs, midwives, social workers, porters, administrative staff and cleaners – essentially anyone who works in an organisation where people with dementia are treated.

It includes videos featuring the lived experiences of people who have dementia, talking about their experience and how dementia affects them.

“This training package aims to give people with dementia, and their carers, a voice,” said Melsina.“The package is free to access and it has been designed with busy health and social care staff in mind. It is user-friendly, can be undertaken in a short amount of time and it takes into account the different ways in which people learn. You can undertake the training at your own pace.”The next stage of the project is to adapt the package so that it can be used to train carers, as well as the building an interactive website where the training can be accessed at any time.

The next stage of the project is to adapt the package so that it can be used to train carers, as well as the building an interactive website where the training can be accessed at any time.“We want to break down the stigma attached to dementia.  People with dementia can continue to lead happy and fulfilled lives, providing they have the right support. That’s what we want to raise awareness about,” said

“We want to break down the stigma attached to dementia.  People with dementia can continue to lead happy and fulfilled lives, providing they have the right support. That’s what we want to raise awareness about,” said Melsina.

For more information and resources, visit the website HERE