A set of standards and criteria for dementia education, developed by a team at PenCLAHRC, are being rolled out to all educational courses for health professionals across England.
The National Dementia Strategy, ‘Living Well With Dementia', was launched by the Government in 2009 with the aim of developing better services for people with dementia and their carers, particularly across three key areas of awareness, diagnosis and intervention, and high quality care.
One strand of this strategy aims to create an informed and effective workforce for people with dementia to ensure that all health and social care staff involved in the care of people with dementia have the necessary skills to provide the best quality care.
A team at PenCLAHRC was commissioned by Health Education South West (HESW), on behalf of Health Education England (HEE), to produce a set of standards to be used in the commissioning of dementia education for health and social care staff. The aim was to produce a set of high-level standards to be used by educational commissioners across the full range of their programmes.
To produce these standards, the project team combined the views of 252 people from educational, clinical, non-governmental and policy organisations – all of whom had either experience of, or a special interest in, dementia – with a review of the existing published literature and policy documents to produce educational standards and principles for dementia education for health and social care staff.
For each of the standards the team also developed criteria against which educational providers and their programmes will be judged. These criteria were set for each of the nationally-agreed levels of education (‘Awareness’, ‘Frequent Contact’, ‘Extensive Contact’), which reflect the amount of contact a healthcare professional has with those for whom they are caring.
The dementia education report was published in 2014 and has now been adopted by Health Education England (HEE). The document is being used by all HEE educational commissioners to ensure that all their commissioned courses across England for health professionals and para-professionals are mapped against these standards.
Professor David Richards, who led the project, commented:
“These standards are already having a profound impact on how all health professionals in England are being trained to work when they are treating and caring for people with dementia.”
To find out more about the project, you can visit their webpage, where you can also read a copy of the dementia education report.