Collaborative Training Project for Enhancing Dementia Care

ContactHelen Single, Long Term Conditions Commissioning Manager – Disease Management Programmes, NHS Berkshire West
Telephone0118 982 2701
Address55-57 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BA

This project will establish a community based Dementia Team that will identify, lead and maintain quality improvements in dementia care across acute and community settings.

The team will identify the training needs in each of the three localities and will devise a programme of delivery in partnership with current providers where appropriate. The team will respond to calls from Community staff for support with patients who have been identified as having cognition difficulties due to dementia. They will give advice, support and mentorship to enable community staff to feel confident and competent in dealing with individuals living with dementia. Workforce development, education and support/mentorship are essential for improving the quality of services provided to individuals who live with dementia and their families/carers.

The training will ensure that health & social care professionals who come into contact with individuals living with dementia are able to maximize

  • delivery of quality care ensuring dignity at all times
  • actions to reduce harm in hospital and community settings
  • reduce the stigma and isolation that can be experienced by people with dementia
  • identify opportunities to ensure the best outcomes for the individual.

A review of existing training opportunities locally will support a collaborative approach to training, ensuring the needs of all patients, carers, professionals and communities are met.

Investment in a ‘Train the Trainers’ programme will support sustainability & wide spread adoption of the principles underpinning the Dementia challenge. Training will be delivered by clinical staff familiar with hospital and community settings, including primary and social care across West Berkshire.

The project will focus on strategies and innovative training methods to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice, promoting empathy and understanding. An example of innovative training approaches, would be promoting the use of an Age Simulation and Empathy Suit within training programmes to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.

See media links below for a brief outline of the use of the suit which is currently in use at Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals Foundation Trust


  • Review current local training opportunities, facilities & resources, ensuring that training is in line with best practice and is accredited.
  • Facilitate delivery of the dementia strategy and training action plan across the health and social care sectors recognizing cultural differences.
  • Ensure delivery of innovative experiential learning in addition to traditional methods to facilitate understanding and empathy in the relation to the care needs of people who live with dementia.
  • Develop ‘train the trainers’ in the Community (Dementia Care Champions) similar to a highly successful programme run by NHS Dumfries & Galloway (see link below). and also the Dementia Champions programme currently delivered in the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
  • Provide ongoing support, advice and mentorship to health & social care staff including Community Nurses, GPs and Practice Staff, to enable them to give quality dementia care.
  • Organize/co-ordinate events relating to Dementia Care which will educate, encourage & celebrate collaborative working across East & West Berkshire

Anticipated outcomes

  • Fewer unplanned acute hospital admissions and improved assessment. A recent audit carried out in another acute unit in July 2012, showed that out of 51 patients assessed 27 had delirium (and did not require acute hospital admission) plus 6 patients were given a new diagnosis of dementia after an unplanned admission.
  • Facilitate earlier discharge from acute hospitals back to usual place of residence.
  • Reduce the number of people going into long term care where possible.
  • Improved understanding and knowledge of available support/services for those who live with dementia and their families/carers.
  • Improved patient experience
  • To ensure that individuals who live with dementia and their families/carers will feel confident in the competencies and knowledge of health & social care professionals who provide their care & support.
  • Ensure advanced care planning/end of life care to provide improved outcomes for those who live with dementia (advanced care directive in place – purple DNR forms).
  • Reduction in inappropriate use of medication (antipsychotics and sedatives) and appropriate use of pain relief.