A study, which will shape the future of education and training around dementia within the NHS, has been launched by health researchers at three Yorkshire universities.
The research team, led by Claire Surr, Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett University, alongside collaborators from the University of Bradford and the University of Leeds, will investigate the most effective approaches to training health and social care staff about dementia.
Results from the study will help ensure that money is invested in effective training that supports better care for people with dementia.
The study, the ‘What Works? Evaluation’, is funded by the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme on behalf of Health Education England and is due to be completed in July 2017.
Speaking about the launch of the study, Professor Claire Surr said: “Providing high quality care for people with dementia relies on knowledgeable and skilled staff. Research shows that effective education and training can, lead to better quality care. However, we also know not all training is effective, meaning it is wasting time and money. We need to know more about what effective dementia training, looks like and this research will provide the field with good evidence about the ingredients needed for effective dementia training.”
The ‘What Works?’ study will involve a survey to gather data on existing dementia training programmes. The researchers will then conduct more detailed research on selected programmes to look at how effective they are and identify ways they can be improved. They will then work with a number of organisations to implement the best training programmes they have identified to see which produce the best outcomes for people with dementia and provide the best value for money.
Professor Jan Oyebode from the University of Bradford added: “Dementia and dementia education finally have the profile and attention they deserve. We are heartened that Health Education England are putting money into this rigorous, in-depth evaluation of training, and at Bradford we are very pleased to be playing a central role in this, along with Professor Surr.”
The results of the research study will be used to develop policy and commissioning guidelines for use by the Government, Health Education England and Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs), alongside good practice guidelines for health and social care organisations and education and training providers.
David Meads, Associate Professor in Health Economics in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “In the future, the research will help us to better understand which aspects of training and education programmes represent value for money. By diverting resources away from less effective programmes and towards more effective ones, the skills of dementia carers will be enhanced and better care and outcomes will follow for people with dementia.”
Professor David Sallah of Health Education England said: “Health Education England is committed to ensuring that the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia in England should be among the best in Europe. We are particularly interested in knowing whether and how education and training is having a positive impact on staff attitudes, skills and behaviours; and delivering better outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers.” We are delighted to be working with Professor Claire Surr and colleagues to assess the effectiveness of our dementia education and training programme”.