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Dementia Training

Dementia is a condition, currently affecting 920,000 people in the UK (Alzheimer’s Society 2019) and effective dementia training is essential. It is estimated that 80% of people living in care homes are living with dementia or severe memory problems, which means that if you are working in the adult care sector, you will inevitably be supporting people living with dementia.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term which describes a range of symptoms affecting the brain, caused by the gradual death of brain cells. The most commonly recognised symptom is short-term memory loss, which is often the first indicator that a person may be experiencing difficulties.  Memory problems may continue to become worse as the condition progresses, to the point where memories are fragmented and people may no longer recognise their loved ones or carers.  Other symptoms of dementia include problems with communication and reasoning skills, which can lead to changes in behaviour and mood.  An area that is often overlooked, is disturbance to the way that senses work, such as vision and hearing, yet is responsible for many of the behaviours exhibited by people living with dementia.

There are many types of dementia, but the most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for more than half of all dementias, followed by Vascular Dementia, which accounts for around 150,000 people in the UK.  The most recent discovery is LATE (Limbic-predominant age-associated TDP-43 encephalopathy), which was first described in May 2019 and is understood to mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.  Scientists are currently unsure about how many people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, actually have LATE.

Other, less common forms of dementia are Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Fronto-temporal dementia.  Many people experience mixed dementias, for example Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. 

No two people will have the same experience of dementia, regardless of what type of dementia they have, so the key to working well with people with dementia is to focus on the person, and what is important to them, rather than the diagnosis.

Why is dementia training important?

Supporting clients living with dementia, whether in a care home or in their own home, can be hugely fulfilling, but is sometimes challenging and even frightening for staff.  If we don’t give staff the tools to work effectively with clients living with dementia; they are at increased risk of burnout and leaving the sector.

We are frequently asked to attend care services to deliver “challenging behaviour” training.  When we investigate further, it is often clear that the behaviours that are being exhibited are signs of distress, resulting from the clients’ needs not being met. 

We understand that when we receive a request for help with “challenging behaviour”, it usually means that everyone involved is feeling high levels of distress, including the person living with dementia, their family, the staff involved in their care and the manager.  

Brexit and Covid-19 have both contributed to the unprecedented staffing crisis in our sector.  This means that more than ever before, social care businesses simply can’t afford to lose good care staff.  If staff are frequently hit or verbally abused, they will lose motivation and probably leave the service. Dementia training that translates evidence-based theory into practical solutions is the answer. Empowering care staff by giving them valuable tools to support their clients effectively is essential if we are to retain our precious staff.

Who needs dementia training?

In essence, everyone who comes into contact with people with dementia should have training.  If you are managing a care home, your domestic staff, reception and administration and kitchen staff should all attend dementia awareness training.

Staff who are working in a non-care role, often engage with people living with dementia and build important relationships, so should not be overlooked when arranging training.  

Outlined in the Dementia Training Standards Framework, are three main social care workforce groups that require dementia education in the social care sector.

Tier 1 includes all of the social care workforce, including non-care workers.  This group should receive basic dementia awareness training.  See Travel with me 

Tier 2 includes those working in social care that are providing personalised direct care and support to people with dementia.  This group will receive Tier 2 training that involves training on the knowledge, skills and attitudes for roles that have regular contact with people living with dementia. 

Coleman Training were commissioned to develop and deliver A Mile in My Shoes for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors.  This is our Tier 2 dementia awareness course, so your staff training will be aligned to that of your CQC inspector.  

Also see When Worlds Collide – Understanding Distressed Behaviours

Tier 3 training is designed for registered managers, Dementia Leads and Champions.

Our Dementia Champions programme and any of our advanced dementia courses are suitable for Tier 3.

Why Coleman Training?

When it comes to dementia training courses, Coleman Training are the experts.  We developed and delivered the dementia awareness course for Care Quality Commission inspectors, we are a Skills for Care Centre of Excellence, TQUK approved centre, Highfield approved centre, Member of the Care Learning Coalition, Member of the ILM and we are signed up to the Good Business Charter.

We model a person-centred approach by putting learners’ needs at the centre of all that we do. When learners acquire knowledge and skills in an environment that is respectful, supportive and inspiring, they are empowered to support others. Developing empathy and seeing “the whole person” are core values that run through every course we deliver.

We aspire to excellence in everything that we do. We will critically evaluate our own performance and take every opportunity to learn and improve our service. We welcome feedback, both negative and positive from learners and commissioners. This feedback is an essential component in our pursuit of excellence.

Our Dementia Trainers

All of our expert dementia trainers previously worked with the Alzheimer’s Society – three of whom were Lead Trainers with the Society. Each have at least 20 years of experience in dementia care training and all trainers have direct experience of supporting a person living with dementia. 

This means that while the dementia training courses that we deliver is evidence based, reflecting current best practice, it is also underpinned by a wealth of practical experience, which is available to support learners. 

Learn more about our Dementia Training Team.

What type of dementia training delivery should I choose?

Face-to-Face Dementia Training

For many years, face to face dementia courses has been the method of choice.  It allows for a fully immersive experience, using a range of training approaches to meet different learning styles.  Individuals can easily engage with the trainer, asking questions, sharing experiences and reflecting on real issues that they are facing in their work with people with dementia.  

Physical workbooks and additional resources are distributed during face-to-face training, so that learners have something that they can take away and use as a reference tool after the course.

Soft skills are an essential part of dementia care and also important to trainers. When we deliver face-to-face dementia training, we are able to read the body language of individuals and adapt content, pace and timings to suit the needs of the group.  We are also able to make ourselves available to chat informally with attendees during breaks to answer any questions. 

Collaboration and group work is easy when in a face-to-face training course and it is a perfect opportunity for learners to network and build relationships that will endure beyond the training day.

At the end of each dementia course, learners are encouraged to complete an action plan in their workbook, describing SMART actions that they will take when they return to the workplace.  This ensures that the learning that has taken place during the course, is translated into better practice and increased wellbeing for their clients.

Virtual Classroom – Zoom Training

Since Covid-19, Zoom training has become extremely popular with learners.  It bridges the gap between Face-to-Face training and e-learning, by offering personalised, interactive training, using a range of training approaches to meet different learning styles. 

Learners still have the opportunity to collaborate using break-out rooms, and we have been surprised at how quickly people become comfortable using Zoom, often almost forgetting that they are in a virtual space as they engage with others on the course.

Another benefit has been the fact that staff can join the course without leaving their home or workplace. One attendee commented that she was relieved not to spend the last half hour of the course worrying about how bad the traffic would be on the way home!

Most of what happens face-to-face can be replicated on Zoom, but some of the challenges have been around a lack of technology in care services for staff to use.  This has led to several learners gathering around a laptop together.  This detracts from the experience.

On balance, Zoom training is a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face, when physical or financial constraints make face-to-face training difficult.

Dementia E-learning

E-learning has its place for some subjects, but it is not a two-way communication.  This means that the learner is “fed” information, but is unable to ask questions or experiment with different approaches to dementia care.  

We choose not to use e-learning for our dementia training for these reasons, although the greatest benefit of e-learning is of course, cost.

If you are not sure which style of training is right for you, please feel free to give us a call on 08450706927.