Dementia care

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The dementia challenge

Several factors relating to dementia are having an impact on how the nursing workforce is trained, and delivers services. The number of people with the disease is increasing. About 750,000 people in the UK have dementia – and this number is expected to double in the next thirty years. Diagnosis rates are low, and there is a general lack of awareness and skills needed to support people living with dementia and their carers.

Although rising dementia figures is a global issue, it requires local responses. There is a nation-wide drive to address these challenges in the UK, including the government's dementia strategy, Living well with dementia and the more recent Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia


Health Education England (HEE) has a responsibility to oversee dementia training for NHS staff. 100,000 NHS staff were trained in Tier 1 over the last couple of years. HEE will continue to roll out the training across the existing NHS workforce and aims to train 250,000 staff by March 2015. A free and interactive e-learning package has been developed to help those caring for patients with dementia to identify, assess, and manage the condition, and to provide excellent patient care. Access the training here

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has a wealth of information to contribute to improved dementia care. It supports key nursing staff to:

  • develop skills and knowledge to support implementation of good practice in dementia care
  • understand the role of carers, families and friends and principles of engagement
  • understand the national context and guidance supporting improvements in dementia care
  • develop local action plans to identify key changes, including stakeholder engagement.

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