Dementia Centred

By Ailidh Aikman

July 6th, 2017

Huntington’s disease: an enabling approach to supporting families – blended learning course

Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that affects more than 5700 adults in the UK.  However, due to the hereditary nature of the condition many more people, family members and friends, are also directly affected by the condition.  People with Huntington’s disease experience changes in their physical, cognitive and psychological abilities as the condition progresses that bring many challenges for the person and those who care and support them.  

Huntington’s disease affects the whole family, while some family members may be symptomatic others may be thinking about getting a predictive test, some may have decided against a test, some may know that they do not have the condition and there will often be children and young people who are taking on caring roles and learning about Huntington’s disease at an early age.  The course considers the whole family, their needs and experiences and the ways in which practitioners can help.

Health and social care practitioners in different settings are increasingly likely to provide support to families with Huntington’s disease due to increased prevalence and awareness of the condition but often with little knowledge about Huntington’s disease or skills to support individuals and families.  This course provides an introduction to Huntington’s disease and supports students to develop new knowledge and skills to enable them to engage with families with Huntington’s disease and provide appropriate support and advice.  The course draws on current research and practice in the field including evidence from across the UK and other parts of the world. The course is delivered by the University of Stirling in collaboration with the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA).  Students are supported both by academics within the University and practitioners from SHA who provide extensive, in-depth experience of working with families with Huntington’s disease.  This partnership was awarded the ‘Perfect Partnership’ award at the 2015 Scottish Charity Awards for their work developing and delivering this course.  The course has been run since 2014 and has attracted students from social work, nursing, occupational therapy, nursing homes and specialist Huntington’s disease services.  People have had a range of experience of Huntington’s disease but all have reported positively on their learning from the course.

The course is run using a blended learning approach involving two days at the University of Stirling campus (4th and 5th Sept 2017) followed by 14 weeks of online learning and is worth 20 credits at SCQF level 10. For more information and to apply click here.