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New course offers hope to dementia sufferers


The first nationally accredited training course aimed at improving the lives of people with dementia is being launched at the University of Sunderland.

The distance learning course for professionals will help further raise the level of care offered to thousands of people across the country living with dementia. Sunderland has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s society, BUPA care homes and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to provide the new course, ‘an introduction to dementia care’.

Through open learning, the use of videos, group discussion and working with people with dementia, the course will encourage staff to view dementia care as a career choice and help in the understanding of the illness. Vicki Lawson-Brown, senior lecturer in health studies at the university said: “This course recognises the attitude, expertise and knowledge needed to deliver successful dementia care. “It’s an exciting new development to provide a better quality of care for people who have dementia, treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve. We welcome the opportunity to recognise the work of care staff in this field.”

The new course is part of a range of Joseph Rowntree programmes awarded to the University of Sunderland by the trust two years ago. Studies have shown that up to 75 per cent of people living in nursing and residential care homes have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s society hopes that all care providers will eventually use the course to help improve training for those working with people with dementia.

Daren Felgate, the Alzheimer’s society’s training and development manager, said: “We hope this course will become the key introductory course for care workers helping people with dementia. “Working with people with dementia is often seen as difficult and challenging, but with the right support many care staff will see it is the most rewarding work they have ever done.”

The course has already been piloted through four BUPA care homes and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. It will be launched at the Royal Society in London on April 22, where speakers from BUPA and the Alzheimer’s Society will be highlighting the importance of effective dementia care training.

Steve Heywood | alfa
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