Professional practice

The reports reviewed in this section relate to professional practice generally and not to particular professions, as in the equivalent heading for journal articles. The reports in this section are limited to ROI and include an examination of integrated care pathways, a 2010 education needs analysis that includes an examination of the attitudes of nurses and care attendants, an evaluation of a pilot education and awareness programme linked to this analysis and a more recent 2014 educational needs analysis that includes, but is not limited to, health professionals.

Dementa Learning and Development Framework

Dementi Together NI
Dementia Together NI
This framework was developed as part of the Delivering Social Change Programme in Northern Ireland and applies to all employers and educational organisations that provide training to health and social care staff and students.
Developed by staff, academics and regulators, the framework has also been informed by people living with dementia and their carers. It’s aim is to ensure that all of those working with people who have dementia have the knowledge and skills to deliver high quality care. The framework is designed to support: identification of what skills and expertise are needed, identification of gaps in knowledge and skills, facilitation of the planning for ongoing development and trainng; development and delivery of training and preparation for career progression. Adopting a tiered approach to support people at different stages of knowledge the framework addresses thirteen themes from dementia awareness to leadership in transformational dementia care. Each theme is contextualised, supported by statements from people living with dementia, the audience for the theme is identified, knowledge and skills outcomes provided with a recommended reading list. The framework emphasises a collaborative approach to supporting people to live well with dementia.

Integrated Care Pathways for People with Dementia: Exploring the Potential for Ireland and the forthcoming National Dementia Strategy

Irving, K., McGarrigle, L.
Alzheimer Society of Ireland

In this expert policy paper by Irving and McGarrigle (2012) and a book chapter bearing the same title (Irving et al., 2013), Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs) are defined as instruments designed to map out the direction of clinical and administrative activities for all care professionals working wi

th people who have a specific disease such as dementia. They scope out what Integrated Care Pathways are and consider the practical application of Integrated Care Pathways. They summarise the evidence pointing to the benefits of Integrated Care Pathways and outline the challenges that need to be addressed if Integrated Care Pathways are to be successful. They compare and contrast two cases studies, one from England and one from the Scotland, before looking at the relevance of Integrated Care Pathways for ROI, following which they highlight key issues relating to the health care system and the role of case management that need to be addressed if Integrated Care Pathways are to be successfully introduced in ROI. Cahill (2013), writing about dementia and integrated care, argues that although integrated care services is widely promoted in public policy in ROI, the evidence suggests that integrated care for people with dementia is more of an aspiration than a reality. She identifies several changes that are needed in service provision for integrated care to become a reality for people with dementia.    

National Dementia Project: Dementia Education Needs Analysis Report

De Siún, A., Manning, M.
Health Service Executive

In order to address the knowledge deficits of care staff in ROI regarding dementia through a three-year National Dementia Education Programme funded by the HSE, a decision was taken to first ascertain what the knowledge deficits were through an educational needs analysis.

De Siún and Manning (2010) collected data from nurses and care attendants via postal questionnaires and focus groups. They found very low levels of dementia care training among both nurses and care attendants. Responses to the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire, which aims to capture attitudes to people with dementia revealed that respondents scored quite well on the Person-centred dimension, which refers to the way in which people with dementia are responded to as unique individuals with the same value as any other person, but scored less well on the Hope dimension, which reflects a sense of optimism/pessimism towards the abilities and the future of people with dementia. The report concluded that there is a need for a core generic dementia education programme focusing on both personal attitudes and general care practices to be offered and one that could be provided on a modular basis to staff in all areas of work. 

National Dementia Education and Awareness Programme: Evaluation of the Pilot Project

De Siún, A., Manning M.
Health Service Executive

Based on the findings of the above Dementia Education Needs analysis and recommendations from a literature review, a generic dementia education and awareness programme for staff caring for older people with dementia in community, acute and long-stay care settings in ROI was developed fo

r delivery over three and a half education days. Its aim was to provide participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to deliver high quality, person-centred care to people with dementia. The programme was piloted in two areas. An evaluation was carried out to capture the views of participants and facilitators on the content and delivery of the programme, the impact of the programme on staff knowledge and attitudes to dementia, and the views of managers on the impact of the programme on their organisation/area of work. The evaluation indicated that the programme has the desired impact on staff knowledge and attitudes. The content and delivery of the programme were evaluated very positively by both participants and facilitators who valued the experience of inter-disciplinary learning. Overall the programme was found to have provided an excellent model for improving staff knowledge, attitudes and care practices for dementia in ROI.

Irish National Dementia Educational Needs Analysis

Irving, K., Piasek, P., Kilcullen, S., Coen, A-M., Manning, M.
HSE, DCU, The Atlantic Philanthropies

Building on the work by De Siún and Manning (2010a), this report by Irving et al. (2014) presents the results of a Dementia Educational Needs Analysis carried out in ROI in 2013/2014.

In contrast to De Siún and Manning (2010a), this report focuses on the information, training and education needs of a much wider range of stakeholders starting with the person with dementia, and including people in their care-giving network, healthcare system and the broader community in which they live. The report outlines the major gaps in education and provides recommendations for future educational and service reform. It identifies seven priority areas which are to provide the focus for the development of education and training programmes.