Looking forward – the Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies

This week’s blog comes from Dr Chris Russell, Programme Lead for our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies. As we welcome students for the new semester, Chris reflects on that experience and looks ahead to what we’ve got coming up next semester. Over to Chris:

Looking forward to the new year in prospect for the Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies. Why not join us?   

This is an exciting time of year. It is when our students return to their studies, and new learners arrive! For our course, provided exclusively online via distance learning, this means we are welcoming people from all over the country and the world.

I’m lucky, my contact with our students starts early. As well as being the course leader I am also the admissions tutor. That means I get to know every applicant a little as they progress their application. That’s important. If this was a course delivered in the traditional way, I would expect to bump into students in corridors and around the university, say hello, and perhaps have a quick chat. The fact that I can establish a bit of a relationship at the outset gives me the opportunity to drop students an email from time to time to ask how they are getting on and how things are going, a little like if we were bumping into each other in the corridor. It’s not long since I was a student myself, and the feeling of being known and not just ‘being a number’ was important. Empathy is of course an essential component of good dementia practice, and we try to model that as part of what we do. 

Much that is good about dementia care, practice and support also involves relationships between people. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the teaching team value and enjoy their interaction with students. Online interactive facilities help forge good working relationships with and between students and progress learning. Group tutorials, as you might expect, play a key role, but discussion forums and other similar platforms are useful too. Here ideas and suggestions made by students, based on their learning and the strong evidence base we provide, generate innovative practice focused on enhancing the lives of people affected by dementia.

That evidence base is the foundation upon which the programme is built. The Association for Dementia Studies is an active research centre, and we include insight and expertise drawn from our contemporary research projects within the teaching and learning we provide. We have globally recognised scholars, such as Professor Dawn Brooker MBE, playing a leading role in the delivery of the course. Our links to people living with dementia and to family carers are strong. The teaching team have experience drawn from key areas of practice, for example care home support, and hospital care, but also from contexts which are becoming increasingly important and relevant, such as housing, environments, citizenship and leisure. This expertise and experience is translated into the modules we offer. It is not too late to apply to study one of the following options from January 2022.

MDEM4003 Expert Practice in Delivering Person Centred Dementia Care

Learn about the Focussed Intervention Training and Support (FITS) programme for people living with dementia who have complex needs and distressed behaviour. This is an evidence-based training and support intervention that improves psychosocial care and thus reduces the use of restrictive interventions such as anti-psychotic prescribing. It is applicable to practitioners from multi-disciplinary professional backgrounds in health and social care, especially those who have teaching/training responsibilities as part of their role. This module is also a Postgraduate Award in Professional Development in its own right.       

MDEM4004 Supporting People Living with Advanced Dementia

Be empowered to challenge common thinking about supporting people living with advanced dementia. This module supports students to critique their own and others’ practice in relation to advanced dementia and end of life care. Students consider the complexities of language and the utility of identifying and defining advanced dementia, palliative care and end of life care whilst considering the impact of labels upon the person living with dementia their family and health/social care professionals. The module will support students to lead change and make a real difference to those living and dying with advanced dementia. It is applicable to practitioners from multi-disciplinary backgrounds in health and social care.

MDEM4006 Engagement and Empowerment in Dementia Studies

This module explores the latest practice that enables the aspiration and hopes for the future of people living with dementia and family carers to be realised. Drawing upon original personal accounts of people living with dementia and family carers, law and policy, literature, theory, and examples of best practice, students are encouraged and supported to contribute to leading positive change. It will interest those within health, and social care settings, and within arts, housing/accommodation, social prescribing, leisure and sports, advocacy, activity coordination, and business contexts.

MDEM4007 Dementia in the Family Context

Gain an in-depth understanding of the experience, needs, interventions and outcomes of family carers of people living with dementia. Students will develop a knowledge-base and skills specific to their own sphere of influence to enable family carers to attain optimum health and wellbeing. The module will be interest to anyone working or volunteering alongside the family carers of people living with dementia.

So, it is an exciting time of year. I’m hoping that my reflections explain why, and that the information provided is helpful. If you would like to study with us, or find out more please follow this link. Additionally, please feel free to be in touch! dementia@worc.ac.uk

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

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