Communication and respect for people with dementia: student learning (CARDS) - the development and evaluation of a pilot of an education intervention for pre-qualifying healthcare students

Wood, Julia Helen; Alushi, Ledia; Hammond, John A.
April 2016
International Psychogeriatrics;Apr2016, Vol. 28 Issue 4, p647
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: Dementia is an international health priority and healthcare students need to be prepared to work with people living with dementia. There is a paucity of the literature describing appropriate educational interventions for pre-qualifying healthcare students and even fewer that are evaluated.Methods: Based on available evidence, an education program was developed aiming to increase students' knowledge and confidence in working with people with dementia (PWD). An introductory program (IP) of classroom sessions and workshops was followed by a volunteer care home experience (CHE) (4 × 3 h). Piloted with physiotherapy (IP n = 55; CHE n = 6) and nursing students (IP n = 20; CHE n = 7), using a survey design, knowledge, and perceived confidence for working with PWD were measured at four time points; baseline, after the IP, after the CHE, and six months later. The data were analyzed using paired t-tests or non-parametric equivalents.Results: Knowledge scores increased after the IP (Time 1-2, p < 0.001, n = 48) and increases were retained after six months (Time 1-4, p < 0.001, n = 40). Perceived confidence increased at six months follow up (Time 1-4, p < 0.001, n = 40) with peaks after the IP (Time 1-2, p < 0.001, n = 47) and CHE (Time 2-3, p = 0.004, n = 13). Physiotherapy and nursing students did not differ on knowledge, but nursing students were more confident at baseline and after the IP. Prior experience equated with greater confidence but no more knowledge.Conclusions: Findings indicate that students' knowledge and confidence to work with PWD improves after this educational intervention, with confidence improving more when supplemented by experience.


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