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Nurses get grant to boost dementia training in nursing homes

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Two nurses from has been awarded a £200,000 research grant to develop training to help deliver dignity for people with dementia in care homes.

Analisa Smythe is the dementia project lead at the National Centre for Mental Health in Birmingham and Catharine Jenkins is the senior nurse lecturer at Birmingham City University.

They said that although training about dementia exists for unqualified staff and healthcare assistants, there was a real need for training aimed at qualified nurses working in care homes.

The training that does exist focuses mainly on dementia awareness, which does not go far enough in improving the experience of people with dementia, they said.

A series of focus groups found that alongside traditional knowledge-based training delivered via lectures, nurses also wanted practical, hands on training about good practice as well as a collaborative approach exploiting the knowledge of staff already experienced in the area.

The £200,000 grant from the Burdett Trust for Nursing will enable the evaluation of a combination of two types of training, one delivered in the workplace and one in a university setting.

The two nurses hope that if the project proves beneficial, their training approach can be delivered to a large number of nurses in care homes leading to improvements in dignified care, leadership skills, reduction in burn-out and increased confidence in the care of dementia patients.

Ms Smythe, who is employed by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this research grant, particularly as it is unusual for such a grant to be based in nursing.”

She highlighted that the Alzheimer’s Society had predicted there would be more than one million people with dementia in the UK by 2021, many living in care homes.

She added: “We hope that this new training for nurses will improve the care and dignity for people living with dementia in care homes.”


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I welcome this.

    My father has Alzheimer's and has now been in a care home for almost a year. It is supposed to be a unit specialising in dementia care. The staff are willing and caring, but seem to constantly require support from the local community elderly mental health team nurses for quite straightforward dementia issues. The company which runs the home have an in-house course and certificate which the HCAs are encouraged to achieve. I don't know about the content of the course or whether or not it would be recognised outside of the organisation, but at least they are doing something. For the qualified staff, there does not appear to be much available.

    Staff need to be better trained, better resourced and in sufficient numbers to provide decent care in this challenging area of care. Properly developed training is a start.

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