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Evaluating dementia training for healthcare staff

Lucy Garrod (Psychological Services (Oxfordshire), Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)
Jane Fossey (Psychological Services (Oxfordshire), Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)
Catherine Henshall (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)
Sandra Williamson (Learning and Development Department, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)
Alice Coates (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)
Helen Green (Learning and Development Department, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 21 June 2019

Issue publication date: 15 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to report on a service evaluation of a competency-based dementia training programme for clinicians to establish its value in improving their knowledge and confidence of dementia care and to explore any resulting changes to practice.


Mixed method quantitative and qualitative data, using rating scales and focus group discussions (FGDs), were collected. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to analyse changes in the responses to the rating scales of knowledge and confidence and thematic analysis of FGDs was undertaken to identify staff perceptions of the impact of training on their practice.


In total, 162 qualified and clinical support staff undertook the training. A significant change in knowledge and confidence scores was found on all three scales. In general, feedback on the course was positive. Seven themes, demonstrating the relevance of the training to practice, emerged from the FGDs – experiential training awareness of diagnosis, approach, understanding, communication, risk, changed practice and going forward.

Practical implications

Providing competency-based dementia training for large numbers of staff can have a positive effect on the care delivered to patients with dementia.


Healthcare organisations have a responsibility to ensure their staff have the training to provide quality care for patients living with dementia. This paper suggests this can be achieved through a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach involving co-production and best practice guidance.



The project was funded by Health Education England. The funders collected data on the number of staff who completed the training, but had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors would like to thank colleagues who contributed to the design and delivery of the training programme and to all staff who undertook the training and participated in the evaluation. Catherine Henshall acknowledges the support of the NIHR Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility. Jane Fossey also receives support from the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre; a partnership between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford.


Garrod, L., Fossey, J., Henshall, C., Williamson, S., Coates, A. and Green, H. (2019), "Evaluating dementia training for healthcare staff", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 277-288.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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