You may feel like you already know lots about dementia and how to support someone, or you may feel like learning new skills and finding out more about supporting someone living with dementia to help you do your job. Doing a training course might help you to build your skills and confidence to support people living with dementia and their families.
The company you work for might provide training in dementia care. However, different companies offer different training. If you would like more training in dementia care, we can give you some ideas and point you to some helpful courses or educational materials. Most of these are free. Courses might be online (available via a website) or in person. Online courses may be easier to fit in with your work and other commitments. You might be able to discuss with your manager about making time in your working day for training, or you might prefer to look at these resources in your own time.
Many training courses are now offered online as e-resources. Not all courses are accredited (approved by a professional body), but those that are will have undergone a process to make sure that good practices and good quality care are at their core. Some provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD certificates) and attendance certificates at the end of the course. These could be useful for your career or personal development! Engaging in CPD shows that you are committed to ongoing learning and improving your skills by keeping up to date with the latest learning developments. You can note them in your CV.
Some training courses are designed to meet national standards for training. These are different in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Looking at your national standards for training might be a good place to start as they can help you to identify topics, knowledge, or skills you feel less confident in when working with people living with dementia.
National Standards for Training in England – The Dementia Training Standards Framework
The Dementia Training Standards Framework is a free resource developed by the Department of Health and Social Care, Skills for Health, and Health Education England in partnership with Skills for Care.
It is a useful resource for people working in health and social care in England. The framework has three levels (called ‘Tiers’):
1) Dementia awareness – for all staff working in health and social care settings
2) Basic skills, knowledge and attitudes – relevant to all staff working in settings and roles with regular contact with people living with dementia
3) Leadership – for staff working in leadership roles (managers and other social care and practice leaders) working with people living with dementia
These are the 14 key topic areas of the Dementia Training Standards Framework:
2. Dementia identification, assessment and diagnosis
3. Dementia risk reduction and prevention
4. Person-centred dementia care
6. interaction and behaviour in dementia care
7. Health and well-being in dementia care
8. Pharmacological interventions in dementia care
9. Living well with dementia and promoting independence
10. Families and carers as partners in dementia care
11. Equality diversity and inclusion in dementia care
12. Law, ethics and safeguarding in dementia care
13. End of life dementia care Research and evidence-based practice in dementia care
14. Leadership in transforming dementia careContent goes here
You can download and save the Framework here:
Through NHS Health Education England, you can access dementia education and training packages specific to Tiers one, two, and three of the Dementia Training Standards Framework. You can find these here.
The Care Certificate
The Care Certificate was developed by Health Education England, Skills for Care, and Skills for Health. While it is not just about the care of people living with dementia, it is an important set of standards that people working in health and social care settings should follow. Most, if not all, homecare providers will encourage staff to complete the Care Certificate as part of their induction. Once you have completed it, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.
You can access and download material for the Care Certificate, including a useful Toolkit to guide you through the process here:
Care certificate | Health Education England (hee.nhs.uk)
Care Certificate (skillsforcare.org.uk)
The Care Certificate | 11 Standards for Care | authored by Skills for Health
Other educational information about dementia care:
- Skills for Care provides free online information to help you deliver better care for people living with dementia. View and download the information here.
- The Alzheimer’s Society website has a lots of helpful information resources, from evidence-based publications to an online dementia catalogue.
- You can become an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend. Becoming a Dementia Friend means finding out more about how dementia affects people and what you can do to be ‘dementia friendly’. This begins with watching a short video. Watch it here.
- The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides lots of useful information and access to both free and paid training courses that may help you in your work with people living with dementia. e-Learning courses – SCIE. You can find information here about topics such as dementia awareness, safeguarding, the Care Certificate, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Read more about the Mental Capacity Act and guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland here The law and decision making. here
National Standards for Training in Wales – The Dementia Learning and Development Framework
The Welsh Government and the NHS in Wales developed a Dementia Learning and Development Framework to outline the core principles, and learning and development topics for staff and services supporting people living with dementia. The Framework might help you to work out your own learning and training needs to help you to do your job.
The learning and development topics are split into three categories, providing information for:
- Learners wanting to know the basics such as how to communicate effectively with people living with dementia
- Learners who are more skilled and already have some experience of supporting people living with dementia
- People who might already be well informed, such as those in a managerial or leadership position
These can be found in the Framework document on pages 20 – 53:
The Alzheimer’s Society provide some useful factsheets about dementia that are written in Welsh. You can save, download, and print information on topics such as ‘What is dementia’, and ‘Changes in behaviour’.
National Standards for Training in Scotland – The Promoting Excellence Framework
The Promoting Excellence Framework was developed by NHS Education for Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council as a guide to set out the knowledge and skills of health and social care staff who have contact with people living with dementia, their family members and carers.
The Framework is based on what people living with dementia, their family members and carers have said are most important to them.
You can use this Framework to help you to identify your strengths and think about any areas that might boost your knowledge, skills, or confidence to do your job. Going through this framework with your manager or employer might also be helpful.
The framework covers four knowledge and skill levels:
- The Dementia Informed Practice Level – this provides the basic knowledge and skills for all staff working in health and social care
- The Dementia Skills Practice Level – this provides the knowledge and skills for health and social care staff who work directly with people living with dementia, their family members and carers
- The Enhanced Dementia Practice Level – this provides the knowledge and skills for health and social care staff who have more intensive or regular contact (including care co-ordination or those providing specific interventions or programmes) with people living with dementia.
- The Expertise in Dementia Practice Level – this provides the knowledge and skill for health and social care staff who have expert or specialist roles in the care, treatment, and support of people living with dementia.
Alzheimer Scotland also provides helpful information about online learning and training courses.
National Standards for Training in Northern Ireland – The Dementia Learning and Development Framework
The Dementia Learning and Development Framework identifies the skills and expertise needed by people working in health and social care in Northern Ireland. Understanding these training standards might help you to work out if you can build your knowledge and skills to help you in your work with people living with dementia and their family members. You can use the free Self-Assessment Tool to help you do this:
The Framework has four levels:
Tier 1: Introductory – For all health and social care staff and provides a minimum level of dementia knowledge
Tier 2: Foundation – This builds on Tier 1 and is for staff with expertise in a non-dementia environment who are involved in providing care to people living with dementia
Tier 3: Informed Practice – For staff working in specialist dementia settings, or those who have intensive or regular contact with people living with dementia (for example, this would include staff who review care and support plans).
Tier 4: Advanced Practice – For specialist staff working at an advanced level of care and expertise with people living with dementia.
1. Dementia Awareness
3. Receiving a Diagnosis of Dementia
4. Person-Centred and Relationship-Centred Dementia Care
5. Promoting Physical, Psychological and Social Well-being in Dementia Care
6. Holistic Approach to the Management of Dementia Care
7. Promoting Enabling Environments
8. Legal and Ethical Considerations in Dementia Care
9. Equality, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in Dementia Care
10. Palliative Care in Dementia/End of Life Dementia Care
11. Working in Partnership with Families and Carers
12. Research and Evidence-based Practice in Dementia Care
13. Leadership in Transformational Dementia Care Content goes here
Wherever you work in the UK, there is helpful information and training resources for you to boost your knowledge, skills and confidence in dementia care.
- Download the guidelines and framework for your country
- Ask your employer or line manager about training and development opportunities
- Think about what you do well, and what might help you to build your skills and confidence around dementia care. Write down what you have achieved and what you would like to achieve.