Time for Dementia (TfD) is a dementia education programme led by a group of teaching and research colleagues at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. In TfD, students are introduced to a family with dementia early in their training and then visit that family in pairs, every three months for two years to build an understanding of what it is to have dementia, as well as attending supporting workshops and stakeholder conferences. The core team have worked tirelessly to develop TfD into a dynamic multi-stakeholder collaboration between teaching and research colleagues, undergraduate healthcare students, families affected by dementia, administrators, Alzheimer’s Society, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as other NHS Trusts and other local Higher Education Providers.
Impact of work
By working together across organisations, the programme has been successfully delivered to over 1,550 healthcare students and has worked with 980 families affected by dementia. This has been achieved through joint working at every level within and outside of the university.
Preliminary evaluation results have shown statistically significant improvements in student dementia knowledge and attitude. Additionally, students report that they have gained knowledge of what it might be like to live with dementia, that their confidence and skills in communicating with people with dementia has improved, and that they have more awareness of the role of carers. The scale and mandatory nature of TfD is highly ambitious, its success has been due to by the passion and commitment of the team to improve care and outcomes for those living with dementia.
Partnership working with students and families involved in the programme has also been a crucial element of the programme, with feedback and active involvement having been promoted continuously, and this has supported the roll-out of the programme across the region and more widely across the South of England.
Plans for the future
The achievement of a number of national awards in the fields of dementia care and training (National Dementia Care Awards, Laing Buisson, Health services Journal, Positive Practice in Mental Health Collaborative) is supportive of the over-arching goal of the TfD team to influence national policy in terms of dementia education.