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BMC Geriatr. 2019 Jun 25;19(1):175. doi: 10.1186/s12877-019-1186-z.

A collective case study of the features of impactful dementia training for care home staff.

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Centre for Dementia Research, School of Health and Community Studies, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS1 3HE, UK.
Centre for Dementia Research, School of Health and Community Studies, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS1 3HE, UK.
Centre for Applied Dementia Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK.



Up to 80% of care home residents have dementia. Ensuring this workforce is appropriately trained is of international concern. Research indicates variable impact of training on a range of resident and staff outcomes. Little is still known about the most effective approaches to the design, delivery and implementation of dementia training. This study aimed to investigate the features and contextual factors associated with an effective approach to care home staff training on dementia.


An embedded, collective case study was undertaken in three care home provider organisations who had responded to a national training audit. Data collected included individual or small group interviews with training leads, facilitators, staff attending training, managers, residents and their relatives. Observations of care practice were undertaken using Dementia Care Mapping. Training delivery was observed and training materials audited. A within case analysis of each site, followed by cross case analysis using convergence coding was undertaken.


All sites provided bespoke, tailored training, delivered largely using face-to-face, interactive methods, which staff and managers indicated were valuable and effective. Self-study booklets and on-line learning where were used, were poorly completed and disliked by staff. Training was said to improve empathy, knowledge about the lived experience of dementia and the importance of considering and meeting individual needs. Opportunities to continually reflect on learning and support to implement training in practice were valued and felt to be an essential component of good training. Practice developments as a result of training included improved communication, increased activity, less task-focussed care and increased resident well-being. However, observations indicated positive well-being and engagement was not a consistent experience across all residents in all sites. Barriers to training attendance and implementation were staff time, lack of dedicated training space and challenges in gaining feedback on training and its impact. Facilitators included a supportive organisational ethos and skilled training facilitation.


Effective training is tailored to learners', delivered face-to-face by an experienced facilitator, is interactive and is embedded within a supportive organisational culture/ethos. Further research is needed on the practical aspects of sustainable and impactful dementia training delivery and implementation in care home settings.


Care homes; Dementia; Education; Long-term care; Staff training; Workforce development

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