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Major report calls for better nurse training in dementia care


For those of us with a research interest in dementia and dementia care this is REALLY not new OR NEWS.. alot of this is well written by authors the facts are that traditional education alone will not lead to sustained changes in practice; a whole systems approach needs to be adopted in improving dementia care, from understanding organisational and team culture; to exploring environmental factors(such as noisy environments); unfortunately this means money...and who has the budget..??? A basic review of the literature shows that there has been a tremendous amount of work invested in understanding dementia, understanding the nursing needs of dementia patients and developing models of care delivery such as Kitwoods (1997) person-centred approach model. What is also interesting is that with all this ‘knowledge’ derived from research evidence, frontline nursing staff have expressed that they are ill –prepared and do not have the ‘knowledge’ and skills to meet the needs of dementia. Some efforts have been made to address this, for example, the Let’s Respect campaign (National Mental Health Development Unit 2009), and other research publications and studies focusing on the skills and knowledge that nursing staff require to meet the needs of dementia patients (Pritchard and Dewing 2001, Archibald 2003, Norman 2003); as well as organisational guidance from public documents from the Department of Health(2003,2009a,2009c) and expert advice from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and Social Care Institute of Excellence (2006). Following on from this there has been a growing voice- suggesting that providing dementia training is the solution to fill the knowledge gap (Sheard 2009). The question to answer is whether a dementia training and development is enough to improve dementia nursing care. we know that while awareness raising training has it part to play in growing individual skills in dementia care; its impact is limited. Through heightened awareness staff may be able to change moments in people’s lives, but it is organisational leaders and skilled team changes that are needed to change whole care cultures. It is clear that training that is not centred on an organisations vision, strategy leadership and team work will always flounder; it can feel easier for organisations to keep churning out safe topic based training. Even then, evidence suggests that available training and access to it are variable and not necessarily provided by staff experienced in dementia care. The future of dementia training has to lie in its ability to show evidence that peoples lived experience in care setting has improved. It requires a different sort of leaning and development which avoids tick box training. The dementia knowledge derived from research; needs to be in a format that is useful and workable for frontline staff

Posted date

18 December, 2011

Posted time

11:06 pm