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What Works

'What works' in dementia education and training?

'What works' in dementia education and training?


What was 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, has sought to answer that question.

The study is now complete and we are disseminating the results


What did 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 allowed us to get a clear picture of what was already known about the ingredients needed for effective dementia training.

Part Two: Conduct a national audit of people responsible for dementia training and education to find out what is provided and a survey of staff who have completed dementia training to assess impact on their knowledge and attitudes as well as barriers and facilitators to implementation. 

We conducted an audit of health and social care and training providers to find out about what dementia training was already being provided. We also developed a tool for costing the development and delivery of training and applied this to the audit responses. Staff who had undergone some of these training programmes were asked to complete a survey that assessed their experience of the training and its impact on their dementia knowledge and attitudes. This has been used to establish a national picture of dementia training and its effectiveness.

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 were selected from respondents to the national audit because their approach to training seemed to be particularly effective. We found 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. We have looked for the ingredients that seem to need to be in place for training to be successfully implemented and impactful.

We involved experts by experience who are living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia throughout the research to shape what we did, how we gathered data, the findings we drew from the research and how we will disseminate the findings.

Study outputs

We will be producing a range of different materials to disseminate what we have found including a report , journal papers,summaries and other practical tools. These will be posted on this web-site when available and promoted via our social media (Facebook and Twitter) accounts.

Literature review outputs

Surr, C. and Gates, C. (2017) What works in delivering dementia education or training to hospital staff? A synthesis of the evidence. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 75: pp172-188 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.08.002

Available here

Surr, C., Gates, C., Irving, D., Oyebode, J., Smith, S.J., Parveen, S., Drury-Payne, M. and Dennison, A. (2017) Effective dementia education and training for the health and social care workforce: A systematic review of the literature. Review of Educational Research. DOI: 10.3102/0034654317723305

Available here (free open access)

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

Follow us on:

Twitter @WhatWorksStudy

Facebook www.facebook.com/WhatworksStudy

The Centre for Dementia Research at Leeds Beckett University – link to Centre pages

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.

Centre for 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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