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Specialist training on dementia promised in national strategy

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Nurses in England are to receive specialist training in how to care for people with dementia as part of a national strategy, the government said last week

Launching the national dementia strategy, which has been delayed since October, health secretary Alan Johnson said that the government had pledged£150m over two years to help transform the care of people with dementia, including providing better education and training for healthcare staff.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told Nursing Times that, although no money had been ringfenced for training, staff education was paramount in delivering the dementia strategy.

‘We want all nursing staff to have the skills to care for people with dementia. We will be working with the providers of education and training to influence pre- and post-registration education and training to ensure all relevant staff have the appropriate skills,’ he said.

Rachel Thompson, practice development lead for Admiral Nurses, the specialist dementia nursing group, said: ‘There needs to be a more systematic and broad availability of dementia education because access to training is very patchy at present.

‘However, training in itself doesn’t necessarily change practice and it will take strong leadership to ensure that changes are embedded into the field,’ she added.

The five-year dementia strategy aims to increase awareness of the condition, ensure early diagnosis and intervention through specialist memory services, and radically improve the quality of care.

A key part of the strategy is the appointment of dementia advisers to act as a single point of contact for a patient and their carers, a role that could be taken on by nurses.

  • Nurses from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have designed an interactive DVD for training healthcare professionals in dementia awareness.

    ‘There is a common misconception that nothing can be done for older people with dementia and it is a natural consequence of the ageing process,’ said Anita Ruckledge, the trust’s trauma unit manager, who led the project.

    ‘The DVD has been designed to act as an information portal that our nurses can take away to learn more about dementia in their own time.’

  • Related article on Dementia: Alzheimer's disease

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