Studying with us online – What is available?

Hear from Dr Chris Russell, the Programme Lead for the Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Studies, as he reflects back on the summer months and looks ahead to our upcoming modules. Over to you Chris:

Over the summer I have had the fabulous opportunity to speak with potential applicants for the distance learning, fully online, Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Studies, offered by the Association for Dementia Studies, here at the University of Worcester.  It has been a pleasure because, in the midst of truly dark and difficult times inspired by Covid 19 and its consequences, I have been introduced to a range of diverse, talented and committed people, from different areas of practice, and different parts of the UK and the world, motivated to enhance their skills, ability and knowledge, so that they can improve, and enhance people’s lives.

Now, even in these most troublesome days, a new cohort of students have begun their studies. In this first Semester the ‘Person-Centred Leadership: the VIPS Approach’ module is up and running, with students benefitting from learning designed to provide in-depth understanding of leadership required to facilitate person-centred living for people with dementia and their families. At the same time students are engaging with the module ‘Enabling Environments for People with Dementia’. This examines the creation of dementia friendly communities, and enabling environments in the home and health care settings. Students will be encouraged and supported to examine ways to assess different types of environments and prioritise the findings of assessments in relation to creating opportunities, and minimising constraints across different settings.

New students are joined by our returning cohort, who we are delighted to welcome back. Because of the virus the summer has not been easy for them. The online course is one way we can support this steadfast and talented group of people, so that their learning is attuned to meet the contemporary challenges they face in their practice. Indeed, from January new modules will be available to all our students, and new applicants alike. For example, ‘Dementia in the Family Context’, which provides in-depth understanding of the experience, needs, interventions and outcomes of family carers of people with dementia. Similarly, ‘Engagement and Empowerment in Dementia Studies’ is on offer. This is timely, being that the module encourages and supports students to develop, and help lead, initiatives to sustain the citizenship of people with dementia within their lives, whatever the circumstances within which individuals are living. In the new year we also offer the Postgraduate Award in Professional Development: Expert Practice in Delivering Person Centred Dementia Care. This can be taken as a stand-alone qualification, or as part of the full Certificate. The course delivered for this online award is one of the very few proven evidence-based interventions to safely reduce medication and improve quality of life and has been developed from the ‘Focussed Intervention Training and Support (FITS) into Practice’ course in care settings for people with dementia, complex needs and distressed behaviour. It is specifically designed to provide dementia care practitioners from a variety of professional backgrounds with the skills, materials and know-how to deliver a practice-based programme to provide safe person-centred care with minimal use of psychotropic medication.

I feel proud and very humble to lead this Programme. It is a pleasure to be the Admissions Tutor too, not least because I get to speak with so many amazing people, passionate about improving practice and people’s lives. If you might be interested in joining the course, or perhaps signing up for a Module as a stand-alone option, please do get in touch. Applications for our January offering close on 30th November, so there is still time. It would be good to speak with you.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate and Award on our website. If you have any questions or queries you can get in touch with us at or contact Chris Russell directly

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

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