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Kent Surrey and Sussex has the oldest ageing population of any UK region. The number of people aged 65-84 will increase by 33% and those aged 85+ will double by 2030. The number of people  with dementia are forecast to grow by up to 50% by 2030 across the region.

Dementia was identified as a priority area for Health Education England's Kent Surrey Sussex team's Skills Development Strategy (SDS), following public consultation with providers of NHS care, patients and carers. The essential contribution of education and training to improving the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers was recognised along with the need to develop an education and training strategy that aligns with service needs. The SDS in dementia complements the requirements of Health Education England’s (HEE) refreshed national mandate which details the government’s objectives for workforce planning, health education, and training and development. It aims to develop and deliver the skills needed by healthcare staff delivering NHS-funded treatment to enable people with dementia and their families to live well with dementia.

Regional stakeholder events were held during 2013/14 and subsequently, the following four workforce development themes have been identified:

Theme 1: Empowering Families and Carers

Consultation with families and carers has reinforced the need for training to support early diagnosis and highlighted the potential for training to enable staff to empower families and carers to support safe, dignified and compassionate care.  We have commissioned the National Skills Academy for Health to develop, deliver and evaluate an innovative, regional training programme for memory assessment service staff with the aim of empowering families and carers to develop skills and enhance their resilience to better care for a person with dementia.

Theme 2: Empowering Practitioners in Training

Medical, nursing and paramedic students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Surrey will, as part of their curriculum, visit a person with dementia and their family at least four times a year for the majority of their course.  Learning will be consolidated through individual reflection and group work.  This three year initiative called ‘Time For Dementia’ is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and will provide a unique longitudinal experience for students of what it is like to live with dementia.  An evaluation study will assess a range of outcome and experience for students, individuals with dementia and their families.

We are currently looking to engage families living with dementia across Surrey and Sussex who would be interested in being involved in the project. If interested, please contact the Time for Dementia team on: 01273 873 206 or email s.daley@bsms.ac.uk.

Theme 3: Empowering Professionals in Practice

The Dementia Fellowship develops both clinical and leadership skills to drive forward best practice, service improvements and quality of care for patients.  Over 80 healthcare professionals including GPs, practice nurses, emergency care doctors and nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals are already taking part in the modular programme and joining a network of dementia fellows taking specialist skills in dementia back to their local areas to enable positive change such as:

  • supporting early diagnosis and improving working practices in primary and community care
  • enhancing patient and carer experiences in acute and emergency hospital settings
  • new approaches to better manage pain, nutrition and medications
  • new support and care for people experiencing memory problems

The Dementia Fellowship will be evaluated in 2016/17 to find out whether it has made a difference to improving the quality of care for people living with dementia. For more information, download our Dementia Skills Development strategy (below), and for Dementia Fellow contacts within your area you can contact Victoria Hare.

Theme 4: Empowering Care Home Staff

Consultation with health and social care providers has indicated the need to strengthen leadership in dementia within nursing homes in order to improve care pathways and the quality of patient care.  We have commissioned Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to develop, deliver and evaluate an innovative leadership training for healthcare professionals working within the care and nursing home sector.

For more information contact programme manager Victoria Hare.

Further dementia training, education and resources:

Foundation Level Dementia Awareness Training

Both of the following courses are free and meet HEE learning outcomes for foundation level dementia awareness training.

Framework for Dementia Core Skills and Knowledge (coming soon)

The National Dementia Core Skills & Knowledge Framework was commissioned by the Department of Health. It was developed in collaboration by Health Education England and Skills for Health and sets out the learning outcomes for dementia education and training at tiers 1, 2 and 3 and cross references these to key national guidelines, legislation, standards and frameworks.  The aim is to help ensure the quality and consistency of dementia training, and to help prevent unnecessary duplication of training

Dementia Education Principles

This Dementia Education Report report, commissioned by Health Education England's South West team, includes a set of ten principles and standards for dementia education for use in undergraduate and post-graduate healthcare curricula. You can download a copy at the bottom of this page.

Primary Care Navigators pilot

HEE worked with the National Association of Primary Care to develop a new dementia education training course for care navigators in primary care.  The Primary Care Navigators for Dementia pilot has now been evaluated to find out the impact of the programme on patient care.







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