University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, has been appointed by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to deliver training aimed at developing 200 Dementia Champions based in health boards and social services across Scotland.
This development follows the graduation last month of the first participants of the national Dementia Champions programme, commissioned by NES and delivered by UWS and Alzheimer Scotland. This first group comprised nurses and allied health professionals.
The second round of the Dementia Champions project will include professionals based in acute hospitals and hospital-linked social care services, who play a key role in the care and treatment of individuals with dementia.
The Dementia Champions programme forms a key part of the Scottish Government’s National Dementia Strategy which drives a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of opportunities and support for people with dementia and their families at all points in their journey, from diagnosis to end of life.
As the population in Scotland ages, this is reflected in the increasing use of the acute care setting by people with dementia. Currently up to one in four of all general hospital beds in the UK are occupied by people over 65 years who have dementia. People with dementia who have other health problems are also more likely to be inappropriately admitted to hospital, are more likely to stay longer in hospital, to the detriment of their own wellbeing, and are more likely to be discharged directly to a care home.
Recent reports have also highlighted that while developments have taken place, there is room for further improvement and the Dementia Champions programme is a key initiative in Scotland driving this forward.
Project Lead of the Dementia Champions programme, Anna Waugh of University of the West of Scotland’s School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, said: “Research and personal accounts indicate that people with dementia do not always experience the understanding or skilled support that they should and this project is playing a key role in ensuring that care for this group of people across NHSScotland improves.
“We are very proud of the commitment shown by our first group of Dementia Champions. We are pleased to be continuing to build on our strong relationship with AlzheimerScotlandto deliver a further group of Champions to improve the experience of care for people with dementia and their carers.”
Barbara Sharp, Alzheimer Scotland’s Practice Development Manager, said: “We believe these initiatives provide a positive example of what can be achieved when educational and practice expertise are brought together in a spirit of co-operation and commitment to enhancing the lives and experiences of people with dementia and their families.”
Susanne Forrest, Programme Director leading on Dementia at NES, said: “We are delighted to be continuing to work with UWS and Alzheimer Scotland in driving this important initiative forward. The rich partnership formed between a university with an established track record in dementia education, and Scotland’s leading dementia charity, is pivotal in ensuring that people with dementia and their families and carers are actively and meaningfully involved in bringing about the changes the Dementia Champions programmes aspires to deliver.
“This important initiative is part of a wider programme of work NES and SSSC are taking forward in partnership to promote excellence in dementia care and deliver on the workforce development issues set out in Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy.”