Getting the message across – seeing the person not the diagnosis in dementia care education

Authors: Board, M., Heward, M., Murphy, J., Spriggs, A. and phipps, L.

Conference: NetNep 2018

Dates: 5-9 May 2018


Worldwide the numbers of those with dementia is increasing (Alzheimer’s Disease International 2015) and nurses will be caring for people with dementia and their families in all care settings. The importance of seeing the person not the diagnosis is key if humanised, person centred care is to be achieved. Yet in clinical practice staff can find caring for people with dementia emotionally demanding which is exacerbated by a lack of understanding of dementia (Heaslip and Board 2012). This paper will provide examples of how simulated learning has been used in undergraduate nurse education, to provide learners with an opportunity to understand the lived experience of dementia. Simulation-based education in health care settings provides a safe space for students to replicate real world situations, practicing core skills whilst protecting patients from unnecessary risks. Simulated learning can be delivered through a wide spectrum of activities including video, vignettes, role playing, body manikins, virtual reality and augmented reality (ASPiH and HEE, 2016; Lateef, 2010). In this paper examples of using some of these approaches in an HEI setting to large groups of undergraduate students (n=250) will be shared emphasising the challenges and outcomes of this approach. The undergraduate students attend an inter professional dementia education study day in the first term before going out to placement. They are taught about dementia from a variety of perspectives using a variety of simulation activities. Students leave the session understanding the importance of knowing the individual who has dementia, the importance of relationships and humanised care delivery. The paper will include preliminary findings based on feedback from undergraduate health care students on how simulated learning enhanced their understanding of dementia before going into practice for the first time and after their first placement. The interest in simulated learning is increasing as is the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of this approach on learning and importantly on practice.


Alzheimer’s Disease International. 2015. World Alzheimer Report 2015. The Global Impact of Dementia. An analysis of prevalence, incidence, costs and trends. Accessed 30/8/2017 ASPiH and HEE, 2016. ‘Standards Framework and Guidance on Simulation-Based Education in Healthcare’ Accessed 30/8/2017 Heaslip,V., Board, M., 2012.‘The impact of staff vulnerability; does nurses’ vulnerability affect their ability to care?’ British Journal of Nursing. 21 (15).

Lateef, F. 2010. Simulation-based learning: Just like the real thing. Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock, 3(4), p.348.

Source: Manual