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Education - Carers

Bespoke professional education funded by the Big Lottery

Professionals working with people with dementia and their family carers identified the need for education to enable them to support families through the following key transitions on the dementia journey.

  • diagnosis
  • transition to a care home or hospital
  • dying, death and bereavement.
Transitions in Dementia Care, delivered by the DSDC

The Challenge

The Big Lottery Fund asked DSDC to develop an education module for professional carers:

  • to understand the key transitions faced by people with dementia and their family carers
  • to gain insight into literature and policy
  • to promote confidence in the planning and delivery of interventions
  • to identify approaches to these transitions

“The course materials have been very good with relevant material and very thought-provoking. The resources are invaluable to my current practice and I am very glad for the funded place, or else I don’t think I would have been able to do it.”

What DSDC Did

The multi-professional module was developed in consultation with an expert panel comprising a nurse consultant working in Lothian, a representative from Alzheimer Scotland, a person with dementia and a family carer both living in Lothian.

It was advertised through the DSDC website, the University of Stirling website, and through distribution of flyers within the NHS Lothian area.

Students who met the following criteria were selected: they worked or lived in Lothian (later extended to Forth Valley), they worked with people with dementia and their family carers, provided an informative personal statement, a satisfactory reference, and had the potential to cascade their learning to colleagues.

The module was delivered four times between Spring 2011 and Autumn 2012, and in total 150 students started these modules. The majority were social care workers, nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and also included volunteers, managers, care inspectors, advocacy workers, educators, charity outreach workers and counsellors. Experience gained during each module informed the next, and the education developed accordingly.

Outcomes

Most students completed the distance-learning module and received a certificate of completion. Their feedback was positive, and course content well-received.

Key findings showed that this module increased knowledge and awareness of carer-related issues and boosted professional skills and confidence. Participants reported making positive changes to their practice, and influencing the practice of colleagues.

Why this Matters

Equipping care professionals with evidence-based understanding of the difficult issues that people with dementia and their family carers typically encounter enables them to provide better support.

By developing and delivering such targeted education, DSDC is ensuring that properly evaluated information is being shared.

The Transitions in Dementia Care module continues to be taught.