Dementia Training Event: Report


Scotland has a world-leading Dementia Strategy. A big part of that is Promoting Excellence, a framework for ensuring we have the  training, skills and knowledge about dementia to ensure that people living with dementia have a good quality of life and can be active and respected members of our community wherever they live or how advanced their dementia is.

To help us make East Lothian a great place to live, work and visit if you have dementia, we were joined by Heather Edwards, Dementia Consultant with the Care Inspectorate; Kerry Cannon, Advisor for Workforce Planning and Development at the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and Carylann Williamson, Development Manager for Community Dementia Education at Scottish Care in Dumfries and Galloway.

This is a long blog as I wanted to get all the information in. If you’re in a rush, the punchline is that if we want to really make life better for people with dementia and their families and friends then community based training network is the way to go. Heather, Kerry and Carylann are supporting us all the way! And of course, a massive thank you to our speakers and everyone who came along to make it such a success. Let me know what you want next!

Right, now for the details.

What people wanted to know?

We had quite a shopping list for the day!

  • What courses or training I need to do to help me support people with dementia
  • How do I get a greater understanding of what dementia training is available, who can deliver and what are the resources?
  • Is there funding for training?
  • How do we access training and support round dementia?
  • What sort of dementia training is the Care Inspectorate looking for?
  • How do we arrange ad hoc training for new staff or volunteers?
  • How do we engage the wider community in understanding dementia?
  • How do we reduce the ‘fear’ of helping people ‘out and about’ with dementia?
  • How to get training for my volunteers who work with people with dementia
  • Training for Carers and a greater voice for lived experience of dementia and caring for people with dementia

The Scottish Dementia Strategy and Charter of Rights

Heather explained the Scottish Dementia Strategy and how it has developed over a number of years. Scotland’s approach to dementia is based around ensuring and respecting the human rights for people with dementia and carers and these apply in all settings. This includes the right to have carers who are well supported and educated about dementia. Heather said we need to see Dementia as a disease like any other;  we have a right to treatment and to have a diagnosis at a time and point that we choose. Rights set the bar for good dementia care and care outcomes, they are aspirational and a challenge but that’s what we’re aiming for. End of life care is a national priority and people with dementia deserve parity with other illnesses. Here’s the link Scottish Dementia Strategy, Promoting Excellence, Charter of Rights and Standards.

The Care Inspectorate

The role of the Care Inspectorate is to assess services in accordance with the Dementia Strategy and Standards. This includes ensuring people with dementia can access their rights and these are respected. The Inspectorate is therefore  looking for evidence that people with dementia have had a say in and control over their own care and the wider decisions that affect them. For example the representation of people with dementia in decision making, being on committees. Heather said we may also see people with dementia on recruitment panels and delivering training. All these are possible for some people with dementia and there are already people living with dementia who are training GPs and consultants on how to work with people with dementia.

Inspections will look at Promoting Excellence, Training Strategy and Workforce and what we do must be evidenced in supervision, staff development and plans, training and records. An Inspector might ask a service if they have mapped staff skills and knowledge against the Promoting Excellence Framework. What levels of expertise, skills and knowledge do they have and how does this fit with their role?

What really matters is that we can show that  training has made a difference to how we support and provide care.





Scottish Care

Carylann told us about work she’s doing in Dumfries and Galloway where they are developing a community based training and capacity building programme that brings people from the different sectors and family carers together to talk about and develop their own training. They have developed their own course which takes people to skilled level and is done as part of induction. We may be able to tap into their expertise if we want to develop a similar model in East Lothian.


Scottish Social Services Council

Kerry explained how Promoting Excellence works and the 4 different levels.

Informed level appropriate for staff with occasional contact with people with dementia such as kitchen staff, cleaners. Also community groups; family, friends, unpaid carers, Day Centre Management Committees, drivers, operational firefighters, community wardens, neighbours. Courses at this level take around 2/3 hours ideally over a couple of sessions.

Skilled is a good starting point and resource for people with direct contact or whose role has a significant impact on people with dementia. There is a focus on person centred care, communication, rights, community involvement, networks. Courses take a couple of days with practice in between and time to reflect on practice. It is appropriate for people in referral or assessment roles; people working 1:1 and/or delivering person centred care in various settings; some/one of Management Committee; Ambassadors who can support others.

Enhanced – is for managers responsible for staff training; supervisory staff and providers of learning and development; Day Centre coordinators; Allied Health Professionals, activity coordinators might also be at this level.

Expert – Nursing staff? Managers? This is usually a specialist post

What really matters is that we have the right levels and skills and knowledge to apply it in our particular role and that we keep improving and building our practice.  We must be able to evidence the impact and learning outcomes of training. We also discussed how we could share expertise and skills so that we can all access the resources and training we need locally and manage tight resources.


Dementia Friendly Communities

Heather, Kerry and Carylann said that DFCs are an important part of supporting people with dementia to have a good quality of life and achieve the hopes and aspirations that have for their lives.  (also known as outcomes!). Networks like DFEL spread the word about Dementia and raise awareness that people have rights; they help us access training and put it into practice and are a  good way to share and learn. They:

  • Bring people together to discuss training and support and share and learn from each other
  • Challenge stigma and help us see people as having strengths
  • Provide a good mechanism for training and capacity building
  • Help people live quality and independent lives for longer
  • Meet the Rights – people with dementia and carers have a right to be included in their community – to get out of care home or their own home and be involved in the community in ways they choose
  • Help communities understand people when there are behaviour changes and know how to support them and feel confident about doing so.
  • Help keep folk going out and staying connected so they can live meaningful lives in the community for as long as possible
  • Help people age well and age actively


What Training is available?

  1. FREE Internet resources:
  1. FREE Dementia Informed Level: Community Learning and Development (and we can organise more of these just contact Diann Govenlock or me)

  1. A number of us have done the Best Practice in Dementia Care from the DSDC at Stirling University and are trained facilitators and are at Skilled plus level. Get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more.
  1. East Lothian Independent Service (ELIS) runs FREE courses for staff in Day Centres and other settings as well as supporting Independent Care providers. Mary Robson is the contact.
  2. We have local Dementia Champions and 3 Dementia Ambassadors in East Lothian – we want more – SSSC supports these networks and this will really increase access to skills and knowledge
  3. As we build our capacity we can run our own courses. For example, Carers now runs carer support sessions and start sharing knowledge and expertise
  4. Scottish Care has developed a community based cross-sectoral programme between informed and skilled level. Perfect induction programme for staff, volunteers and new carers. It works using blended groups across sectors and family carers so can learn across the sectors. It takes 2 days in total. We might be able to set up something similar here if we need it.

Final Points

It was a busy morning! But some of the main points are:

  • The training required is determined by the specific role and job not the job title. For example if you make decisions which affect people directly, decide or deliver training or staff/volunteer development or decide on resources or have a lot of direct contact; you may need skilled level training.
  • Training is not a fixed entity, everyone should aspire to improve their practice and train accordingly
  • Good dementia care is good person centred care, though there are some specific aspects of dementia that people do need to be aware of to deliver good care to people with dementia.
  • Working as a community to develop and share skills and resources is the way to build our ability to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and really make an impact that we can evidence
  • We could also develop a network of Dementia Ambassadors which taps us into SSSC support and learning.

What Next?

If you’re interested in helping to develop a training and capacity building network for Dementia, get in touch!  We’ll get help and support from SSSC and Care Inspectorate and we’ve got resources we can draw on.  Please contact me (Sue) if you want to know more! Watch this space  and DFEL Nerwsletter for updates.


To our speakers and to everyone who came along and made it a success. And to the sun for making the Hope Rooms an even nicer venue than usual!




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