Prepared to care – Challenging the dementia skills gap

Prepared to care - Challenging the dementia skills gapThis report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia (APPG) explores the scale of the challenge in training the caring professions in dementia, and how it may be met.

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The inquiry found that, as a whole, the social care workforce has a very limited knowledge of dementia and is therefore not ready to provide high quality dementia care. There are some examples of excellent practice demonstrating that, given the right support, staff can improve quality of life for individuals with dementia. However, there is also evidence of poor practice, failing to respect the person as an individual and not understanding how to prevent or respond to behaviour that challenges.

The report makes a number of recommendations including:

  • The Department of Health to prioritise early work on achieving Objective 13 of the National Dementia Strategy for England – ‘An informed and effective workforce for people with dementia.’
  • We need to move towards a situation where the workforce as a whole demonstrates effective knowledge and skills in caring for people with dementia.
  • It is important that workforce development programmes are carefully designed to meet the needs of care staff and ultimately improve the lives of people with dementia.
  • There must be greater regulation of dementia care trainers to combat the current inconsistencies in quality. We recommend the development of a kitemarking system.
  • There must be greater recognition of the level of skill required to provide good quality dementia care as well as recognition of the importance of maximising the quality of life of individuals who develop dementia.
  • It is vital to develop effective working relationships between commissioners and service providers that are based on a good knowledge of what good dementia care is and what is required to provide it.
  • Good dementia care is reliant on well integrated working between social care and healthcare and this must be improved.