University of Cumbria leads the way in dementia education

THE University of Cumbria is one of just a handful of UK establishments which has added dementia education to its curriculum.

It has become one of just 53 UK universities in the Higher Education for Dementia Network (HEDN), which has developed the Curriculum for Dementia Education (CfDE), in a bid to improve the knowledge and skills students will need to go on to work in health and social care.

“We are excited to be involved in the launch of this curriculum,” said Linda Morrison, programme lead for the foundation degree in health and social care at the university.

“As the first university in the UK to deliver a foundation degree with a named pathway in dementia care, the CfDE will also be embedded in all our health and social care programmes.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for those who provide services to people with dementia, as

education specialising in dementia care is now gaining the recognition that it deserves.”
HEDN, which is coordinated by charity Dementia UK, has developed the curriculum over a number of years through consultation with people living with dementia, their families, dementia care practitioners and network members.

This followed from research conducted by HEDN which identified that coverage of dementia in most UK university health and social care courses was ‘inadequate and inconsistent’.

Rachel Thompson, chair of the organisation, said: “Dementia needs to be integral to education for all health and social care professionals but also needs to be delivered in a consistent and systematic way.

“We hope that the CfDE will provide a framework to ensure that this happens effectively and across all education providers.”

I wish this University the very best of luck with this and hope they succeed, because we need more of these schemes to be set up around the Country so that we stop hearing the horror stories about people with dementia being ill treated in hospitals and care homes etc.

The North of the country seems to be doing extremely well where dementia training is concerned and I have been very privileged to have been a part of it over the last few years, through my links with Northumbria University

I work at times with Northumbria University which trains Graduate Nurses in dementia care, and its good to see this happening in other places now.

But we must not forget the voices of those with the illness, their carers, family members and friends who all have a role in teaching people about dementia.

We cannot take everything we see in textbooks as gospel, because some of it may well be out of date or written by someone with little or no knowledge if the illness

I occasionally go to speak to the students about living with lewy body dementia, and a carer  goes to speak about her life with her husband, when he had dementia before he died.

These stories can play a big part in all training as it comes from those at the front so to speak.

We should also remember that there is no one size fits all, training scheme where dementia is concerned, as there are too many variations.

There may well be 10 or so different types of dementia, but within that there are well over 120 variations, and no two people have the same problems or symptoms, so this training has to be well planned and set out.

We all go our separate direction, so in many cases this illness is not a text book illness, as many think.

Dementia has been a subject which has been largely hidden away by society for too long and now its time for it to be brought out of the shadows. Its time it was discussed in many places so that these young people who are our future can do something positive about raising the profile of the illness.




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