Having staff with the appropriate knowledge and skills to deliver good dementia care is a priority. The National Dementia ‘WE’ Statements were developed by people with dementia and their carers, including members of our tide network and one of these emphasises the need for appropriate competent staff to support both people with dementia and carers.
We have the right to an early and accurate diagnosis, and to receive evidence based, appropriate, compassionate and properly funded care and treatment, from trained people who understand us and how dementia affects us. This must meet our needs, wherever we live.
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 and outcomes for people with dementia and carers. Sadly, however, some studies have also shown training does not always lead to any benefits. One such study led by Professor Claire Surr from Leeds Beckett University found that there was wide variability in the quality of dementia education and training across England. The paper highlighted that the government targets for numbers of NHS staff trained on dementia may, in some cases, have led to a focus on volume rather than quality or efficacy of the training and education in dementia (Department of Health, 2013, 2014).
In addition the Department of Health’s own findings, the Dementia Citizens Panel report found that less than 50% of those people with dementia and carers, who responded to the survey thought the support received from their GP surgery, local hospital and from social services had been good. Some of the contributory factors to this level of dissatisfaction are related to the skills and knowledge of the staff in relation to dementia care.
The Department of Health, NHS England and Skills for Care have now launched a A call to action on Dementia Training calling on those designing or commissioning training to quality assure their products against the findings of the ‘What Works’ Study (Leeds Beckett University) to help to reduce variability in the quality of dementia training and education.
Anna Gaughan, our Chief Executive welcomes this call to action on Dementia
“It is imperative that there is a concerted effort in designing and commissioning the appropriate level of dementia education and training relevant to the role of the individual staff members if we are to achieve improved outcomes for people with dementia and carers.” She pointed out that a key finding of the What Works study is “that a positive learning experience is reported when involving carers in delivery of training.”
She also emphasised that there are over 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK and this is a largely untapped resource in supporting the delivery of high quality dementia education and training across the whole care system. She continued
“At tide, we invest in the personal development of carers of people living with dementia to equip them with the knowledge skills and confidence to co-design and co-deliver education and training programmes. We are interested in partnering with providers (undergraduate, post graduate and independent providers) so that we can offer more of these opportunities to carers to use their lived experience as Experts by Experience”.