“Landmark” framework for dementia care training launched

This week a new framework for the training of care workers has been launched with the aim of improving the quality of care available for patients with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

Reporting for The Nursing Times, Nicola Merrifield explains....

Developed by national workforce body Health Education England, and training development organisation Skills for Health, the framework covers three tiers – awareness, fundamental skills and leadership needed for dementia care.

It states that the entire health and social care workforce should have a level of awareness in which they know the UK prevalence of the condition, are able to recognise signs of dementia, and understand reasons why the person may be showing signs of distress.

Professor Alistair Burns

“This framework details the essential skills and knowledge necessary across the health and social care spectrum”

The government-commissioned document – developed in partnership with over 20 organisations – also lays out the different skills, qualifications and knowledge of legislation needed by staff who either regularly work with people with dementia or are leaders in the sector.

It matches up the applicable requirements according to whether the professional works in the health or social care sector.

But the document – called the Dementia Core Skills Education and Training Framework – also sets out fundamental skills that can be transferred between settings to stop unnecessary duplication of training.

The 14 areas covered include dementia prevention, communication and interaction, pharmacological interventions, end of life dementia care, and safeguarding.

In his introduction to the document NHS England’s national clinical director for dementia, Alistair Burns, said the framework should act as a “landmark resource” for anybody involved in dementia education and training.

“This… framework is an extraordinarily useful resource which details the essential skills and knowledge necessary across the health and social care spectrum,” he said.

“It should inform curricula, provision of educational courses and the development of projects in dementia,” he added.

Launching the framework, Skills for Health chief executive John Rogers said: “This framework will ensure that when training and education is sought, duplication will be avoided and it will be clear what core skills and knowledge can be used across different clinical areas and care settings.”

“We believe that use of the framework will result in an increased quality of care for people living with dementia and their families,” he said.

The framework has been created to support the Prime Minister’s “Challenge on Dementia 2020” campaign, which was launched in February and said all NHS staff would be required to undergo training in dementia.

HEE director of nursing Lisa Bayliss-Pratt added: “By April 2015, over 500,000 staff had undertaken dementia awareness training.

“This new framework will underpin and enhance future education, and will be an extremely valuable tool not only for those involved in day-to-day care, but also for those who provide training,” she said.

Article first published in The Nursing Times 5/11/15