Time for Dementia is an exciting, innovative, award winning programme designed to create a new generation of healthcare professionals who are more aware and understanding of dementia. Time for Dementia has a highly progressive approach to inter-disciplinary learning, enabling students to study the impact of dementia on patients, families, and carers over several years.
Typically Healthcare education tends to focus on block clinical placements with an emphasis on crisis, or acute illness, which does not provide student learners with a true understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, or any long term condition. This current way of learning rarely enables students to experience or create a person-centred approach to their care, or to build the compassion or understanding needed to help those affected by dementia.
In response to this challenge Health Education England working across Kent, Surrey and Sussex have commissioned the Time for Dementia programme, which is led by Professor Sube Banerjee, Professor of Dementia. Time for Dementia is an innovative education programme for health care professionals in training which provides longitudinal contact with families affected by dementia in order to improve student knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Pairs of students visit a family affected by dementia over a two-year period, the visits provide a unique learning opportunity for trainee healthcare professionals. They are designed to enable students to see how a diagnosis of dementia can affect people and the challenges and changes that they may face over time. The students also receive supporting tutorials and lectures. The programme has been embedded as a core component of the curriculum at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and University of Surrey. In 2017, the programme was widened to the University of Brighton, University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University across a number of under-graduate healthcare training programs including Allied Health Professional courses. So far the programme has involved around 2,600 students and 1,200 families.
Evaluation results have shown statistically significant improvements in dementia knowledge and attitudes. Additionally, four key themes have been identified through the analysis, improved insight and understanding, challenging negative attitudes and assumptions, relational learning and enhanced dementia practice. Families (people with dementia are their carer) also report value from taking part in the programme.
Due to the success of the programme, it is anticipated the programme will be rolled out to HEIs in the Health Education South region and beyond.
Work has recently started on a sister programme, Time for Autism which will start in the academic year 2020 at Brighton & Sussex Medical School.
You can read more about the work here