This unit aims to provide the learner with knowledge of the ageing brain and the identification of dementia. Learners will also cover the different types of dementia, the first signs and symptoms, the importance of early diagnosis and the impact this condition has on the individual and others in their social network, particularly their immediate family. The focus of the unit is also on the risk factors of dementia and prevention; the need for dementia awareness and National Dementia Strategic plan.
This module will address the fact that all persons living with dementia are first and foremost human beings, all with a unique identity, unique personalities and life experiences. Knowing an individual and understanding someone’s needs is a must to delivering personalised care. This module will introduce the Person-centred model of care whereby the person living with dementia should be the focus in the model of care.
Finding individual solutions for a person living with dementia can help them maintain their independence for as long as possible. Promoting independence is key to improving a person’s confidence thus enabling a heightened sense of purpose.

Relationships are also central to wellbeing and this includes professional interaction with people living with dementia. This unit covers a range of different techniques on how staff can get to know the person living with dementia and how the needs and deteriorating abilities can be met, so as to maintain the person’s identity and dignity in a safe and secured environment.

As well as understanding what makes person-centred care, staff should also be able to support a culture of person-centred care and be able to appropriately direct and support other staff in this. In addition, there should be an awareness of the different roles held by all the care home staff and knowledge on how together, as an inter-disciplinary team, can best contribute to care and support. In addition, to ensure that a person-centred care is implemented, staff should have the know-how on how to get information from a person living with dementia and/or the family and where the need be, to engage the family/carers in decisions about care and support.

This unit discusses best-practices techniques on how to best communicate with persons living with dementia. Both verbal and non-verbal communication will be discussed. Good care and support depend on effective communication and is vital in any health and social care setting. Key skills, knowledge and attitudes required when communicating and interacting with people living with dementia will be addressed. Also discussed will be common challenging behaviours that are exhibited by persons living with dementia. Understanding such behaviour and techniques to distract and/or to avoid such behaviour completely will be addressed.

While there is no cure for dementia some medications are available that can slow the progression of some types of dementia for a period of time. This unit will discuss medical treatments that are used frequently as a means of ‘treating’ what are often called symptoms of dementia such as agitation and aggression. This unit discusses also that prescriptions of anti-psychotic medications for such behaviours causes increased risk of stroke, falls and death. However, some people living with dementia do experience periods of acute neuropsychiatric symptoms that may need short term, carefully monitored drug treatment to alleviate symptoms and distress.

This module is intended ONLY as an awareness of the medication that older persons may or might take including the side effects that these medications may create. In no way, participants will be responsible to administer any medication.

Non-pharmacological or psycho-social interventions have a range of benefits for persons living with dementia. This module will discuss contemporary strategies to dementia therapies. An array of approaches will be introduced to support the quality of life of people living with dementia. These will include community-based and individual approaches, based on person-centred care and assistive technology. Moreover, this unit will also highlight the importance of the ‘prepared environment’.

Dementia does not discriminate and will affect people from all genders (including LGBTQI), cultures, age and social backgrounds. Issues of diversity may have an impact on how people experience dementia, including the acceptance of the condition within their family or community.

A person’s background, age and culture are important to them as an individual so are also an important consideration for the delivery of person-centred care.

The intention in this module is for participants to become aware of the age, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, spiritual, cultural and background diversity and how they may impact on people living with dementia; be able to adapt assessment and care planning taking account of equality issues; be aware of the stigma, myths and stereotypes associated with dementia; be aware of the prevalence and impact of younger onset dementia and basically be able to actively challenge any discriminatory practice that may compromise a person’s right to dignity, respect and safety.