Dementia awareness training

UCLPartners is working with Health Education England (HEE) in north central and east London to lead a cultural change in dementia care across our partnership by ensuring that all healthcare staff receive basic, appropriate dementia awareness training.

UCLPartners is supporting the NHS to improve healthcare delivery, by ensuring it has a workforce that is skilled to provide high quality dementia care at all stages of the condition; and able to understand its importance. As the number of patients with dementia are expected to continue growing, demand for quality dementia care will increase.

 Strategic objectives

  • Develop a model of training which builds capacity within organisations, allowing them to increase dementia awareness so that staff can interact with people with dementia compassionately and confidently
  • To facilitate a culture change whereby dementia becomes embedded in the organisational consciousness and is considered at every point of planning and strategy.

Dementia care in England

The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, published in early 2015, outlines a need for the promotion of awareness and understanding of dementia in Britain and global action on dementia. The report calls for improved public awareness and for all NHS staff to receive training appropriate to their role by 2020, as well as:

  • Equal access to diagnosis of dementia as for other conditions
  • Meaningful care and support for patients and carers
  • Increased funding for and accessibility to research

The 2014 HEE report on dementia education laid out ten principles of dementia education across three tiers of training, to be implemented (as part of courses) for all levels of health and social care staff.

Current workstreams

Our project currently consists of the following three work streams:

1. Development of dementia champions (Tier 3)

Tier 3 training is defined in the Dementia Core Skills Education and training Framework 2015 as the following: Tier 3: enhancing the knowledge, skills and attitudes for key staff (experts) working with people living with dementia designed to support them to play leadership roles’.

Our ambition is to:-

  1. Create a cohort of 40 dementia champions as leaders, supported to influence change in 3 key local priority topics – delirium, diagnosis (pre and post) and dementia risk and prevention
  2. To promote these champions across their STP locality as experts and influencers in person centered dementia care
  3. Encourage participating organisations to deliver initiatives that promote both multi organisation and multidisciplinary working

2. Continue roll out of Tier 1 dementia awareness training across primary care

Building on initial development of 100 Dementia friendly GP Practices, our ambition throughout this project phase is to:

  • Facilitate the creation of a further 50 dementia friendly GP practices
  • Provide access for up to 15 practice staff to be developed as dementia awareness trainers
  • Create links between organisations, to encourage peer support, shared learning and further innovation

3. Evidence of impact

UCLPartners will evaluate the influence of training, by examining the care provided for people living with dementia, and their carers, in both new dementia friendly GP practices and across our participating trusts.

Dementia awareness training has real potential to impact those who are trained and the people they care for. Read a story from Whittington Health which shows the impact training can have. This story is not an isolated account of the positive effect of dementia awareness training. There are many opportunities ahead, and we encourage all of our partnership organisations to continue to internally coordinate, schedule, and deliver dementia awareness training to their workforce and evaluate the outcome. The enduring commitment of all our partner organisations continues to inspire our work.


Partnership networking

We continue to ensure community of care networks are developed and embedded within the healthcare system. We are working with health and social care staff to create these partnerships and forums for sharing best practice in dementia care.

The London Health Commission report highlights a need for greater and stronger partnering between health organisations, providers, and people who use services in order to improve health and social care. This is particularly relevant when it comes to long-term conditions.

These have included:

  • London Ambulance Service (LAS): Based on materials developed by UCLPartners and dementia trainers, a number of LAS clinical tutors have now been developed as trainers. These tutors have delivered Tier 2 dementia training sessions across the Trust as part of the refresher training programme for all LAS staff.
  • Dementia training in Care Homes: The training aims to raise awareness and understanding of dementia among care home staff working in residential and nursing homes, thereby facilitating better support for individuals with dementia, and their families. This is being achieved through the delivery of a sustainable dementia training package, in partnership with the Health Innovation Network, which can be cascaded to care homes using a ‘train-the trainer’ approach. More information on this project and a fully downloadable training package can be found here.

In the video below Alistair Burns, the National Clinical Director for Dementia at NHS England, speaks about dementia awareness and the need for training.

Join Dementia Research

Join Dementia Research is a national service that aims to accelerate the pace of dementia research by allowing people with and without dementia to register their interest in studies, helping researchers find the right participants at the right time. UCLPartners was the pilot site for the initiative and continues to support its work as part of the NHS Innovation Accelerator. Anyone can sign up to take part in a study and help researchers develop methods of care and treatment. Find out more and register.

Free online course from UCL: The Many Faces of Dementia

The Many Faces of Dementia is available on FutureLearn and runs for four weeks each time it is on. Watch a trailer to find out more, and register interest for future sessions of the course.


In March 2017 UCLPartners held our fourth dementia conference, bringing together over 100 health and social care staff from across north central and east London, as well as members of the charity and research sector, to review and share continued progress in provision of dementia care.

The conference provided an opportunity to focus on:

  • Progress in improving dementia care, support and research
  • Shared learning from dementia initiatives
  • Challenged attendees to consider what action they would put in place on their return to work, which would help a person living with dementia accessing their service

Many thanks to all speakers, presenters, exhibitors and attendees for the active participation in this event.


Sian Jones, Senior Project Manager

Ellen Nelson, Project Support Officer

Follow us on twitter: @UCLPartners #dementiaaware