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What Works

'What works' in dementia education and training?

'What works' in dementia education and training?


What is the study about?

Having staff with the knowledge and skills to deliver good dementia care is a Government priority. It states, that Health Education England (HEE), the body responsible for the education and training of NHS workers, must ensure all NHS staff have the right knowledge and skills required to care for people with dementia.

Research has shown education and training can help staff to feel more confident about dementia care and improve their knowledge and skills. This can lead to better care. However, some studies have also shown training does not always lead to any benefits. Therefore, HEE want to understand 'What Works' when it comes to dementia training, by identifying the programmes and approaches that lead to the best outcomes for people with dementia and their families. This study, funded by the Department of Health Policy Research programme, will help answer that question.

What does the research involve?

Part One: Review of all published evidence about training and education in dementia for the health and social care workforce.

Studying existing research will allow us to get a clear picture of the ingredients needed for effective dementia training.

Our literature review is now complete. A full report and summary will be available soon, please follow us on twitter or sign up to our newsletter to receive news of its release.

Part Two: Conduct a national survey of people responsible for dementia training and education to find out what is provided. 

We will conduct a survey of health and social care and training providers to find out about what is already being provided. Staff who have undergone some of these training programmes will be asked to complete a survey that will assess their experience of the training and its impact on their dementia knowledge and attitudes. This will establish a national picture of dementia training and its effectiveness.

We now have the results of the first survey and are focusing on our staff survey and report.

Part Three: Conducting case studies in a number of organisations, to look in more detail at the ingredients for effective dementia training and education.

Case study sites will be selected because their approach to training seems to be particularly effective. We will find out about their training approaches and culture and look at the impact on staff knowledge and skills, and on the experiences of people with dementia and their families using the service. By identifying successful training, we will be able to share good practice.

We will also study ways we can understand the costs and benefits of the training to support future measurement of cost-effectiveness. We will involve service users throughout the research to shape what we will do, how we will gather data, the findings we will draw from the research and how we will disseminate the findings. We will gain ethics panel approval for the study and keep all data secure and confidential.

Evaluating the research

At the end of the research, we will produce a range of different materials to disseminate what we have found including a report for HEE and others interested in dementia training and education detailing the most effective training programmes and the best environment, culture and approaches for applying learning in practice.

For enquiries about the study, please contact us on whatworks@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

This is independent research commissioned and funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme (Understanding Effective Dementia Workforce Education and Training: A Formative Evaluation (DeWET Evaluation), PR-R10-0514-12006).The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Department of Health.

Professor Claire Surr Dementia Research

*What Works image courtesy of Dr. Cathy Greentblat Love, Loss and Laughter ©

Cathy has been engaged in a cross-cultural photographic project on aging, dementia, and end of life care since 2002. She is also the author of 15 books and more than 100 professional articles. Exhibits from the two most recent volumes containing both photos and text, ‘Alive with Alzheimer’s and Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s’ and ‘Differently’  have toured the USA, Europe, and Australia.  Her exhibit and lecture circuit for these projects and ‘Alive at the end of Life’ includes North America, Western Europe, Israel,  Japan and India.

In addition to being Professor Emerita of Sociology at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey), she served as an Artist in Residence at the hospital network of Nice (CHU), France from 2003-2007 and subsequently has been a member of the COBTeK project (Cognition, Behaviour, Technology) at the University of Nice.  After a period as a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK, she served from 2011-2014 as Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University.

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