Sussex families urgently needed to help health staff understand dementia

As a result of the success and expansion of Time for Dementia, the programme now needs to recruit over 200 families in Sussex. SUS-191207-105225001
As a result of the success and expansion of Time for Dementia, the programme now needs to recruit over 200 families in Sussex. SUS-191207-105225001

An award-winning educational programme aiming to create a new generation of health staff who are more understanding of dementia needs your help.

Time for Dementia needs to recruit more than 200 families in Sussex.

Historically, healthcare education tended to focus on block clinical placements with an emphasis on crisis, or acute illness, which did not provide students with a true understanding of what it like to live with dementia, or any long term condition.

In contrast the Time for Dementia programme provides undergraduate healthcare professionals with on-going, regular contact with a person with dementia and their carer.

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Pairs of students visit a family affected by dementia over a two-year period; this provides a unique opportunity to see people affected by dementia in their own home, over a period of time.

The visits are designed to enable students to see how a diagnosis of dementia can affect people and the challenges and changes that they may face.

The students also receive supporting tutorials and lectures.

The reciprocal relationship has been found to be hugely beneficial to all concerned.

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The students hear directly from the experts on dementia, the families living with dementia themselves.

The volunteer families then contribute their experience to help shape the next generation of medical professionals.

A participant living with dementia said: “It’s not just about the medical side of getting a diagnosis; it’s about helping students to understand the bigger picture and the wider implications for me and my wife. It is also really important that they understand that I am still a person not just a diagnosis –that really matters.”

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Funded by Health Education Kent, Sussex and Surrey, Time for Dementia is now a mandatory part of the curriculum in a range of medical and healthcare courses at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Surrey, University of Brighton, University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University

The programme recognises it is of the utmost importance to involve people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers or family in training the healthcare professionals of tomorrow.

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There are more than 67,500 people living with dementia in Sussex, Kent and Surrey.

Lauren Wonnacott, Alzheimer’s Society lead for Time for Dementia said: “Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer with one person in the UK developing the condition every three minutes.

“It’s predicted that, by 2021, a million of us will have dementia, Two million by 2051.

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“It is essential that the healthcare professionals of tomorrow have the appropriate training and understanding to meet the needs of people living with dementia.”

Since the programme started in 2014, a total of 1,200 families in Surrey and Sussex have helped train around 2,600 students to gain a better understanding of dementia, which is a huge step forward in creating a generation of dementia friendly healthcare professionals.

If you would like to be a part of this innovative and vitally important programme please email: timefordementia@alzheimers.org.uk or call 07713 779 582.

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