May madness

It feels like I say this quite often, but as the Association for Dementia Studies is doing a lot at the moment, we thought it would be useful to take stock and draw breath in this week’s blog. Here’s an overview of what’s going on.

Education and training

Our PGCert students have recently submitted their final assignments so our lecturers are busy marking. Before we know it, we’ll be welcoming a new cohort of students on our September modules! If you would like to be one of them, please have a look at our website or watch our new short video. A reminder to current and former students – you are eligible for the Hennell Award so why not apply!?

The next cohort of the 5-week Meeting Centre online training starts later this month, and this time is being facilitated by Kirrie Connections. If this is too short notice, don’t worry, we’ll be running another cohort in July. Have a look at our website for full details and how to register for either course. We’re also working on developing Meeting Centre training for other audiences, so keep an eye open for further updates.

Conferences and events

In Dementia Action Week we’ve got information stands at the Leominster Dementia Conference and The Worcester Dementia Action Alliance Awareness Event (both on 16th May), as well as running a dementia awareness and information session for staff here at the University of Worcester on 17th May supported by having a stand in the St John’s campus reception area.

We’ll also be at the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference in London on 18th May, presenting at the Cornwall Dementia Conference down in Newquay on 19th May and presenting at the 23rd International Conference on Integrated Care in Belgium later in the month. Busy times!

We’re also planning our Get Real event to launch and share the findings. Although it’s not until 12th July, our plans are well underway, and if you would like to attend you can register here. As part of the event we’ll also be displaying our Meeting Centres family blanket so don’t forget to send in your squares!

If that wasn’t enough, we’ll be writing abstracts to submit to various conferences such as UK Dementia Congress later in the year to share findings from a whole host of our research projects.

Research and consultancy

We’ve got several research projects underway at various stages, so we’ll be working on these as well as writing articles for recently completed projects. Bid writing is also taking place with several bids taking shape quite nicely (fingers crossed!).

A work in progress is the development of an app version of the environmental assessment tools. The app is not quite at the point of being made available, but it’s not far away – watch this space.

We’re also working on a series of short videos relating to Meeting Centre data collection, both to help Meeting Centre staff understand what’s involved but also to help explain it to members and carers and encourage them to get involved. It’s another ‘coming soon’ situation, but hopefully the videos will be helpful to everyone.

Phew! Same again next month?

Teaching Team Award

We’re very pleased and proud to announce that our Module Leads on the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Person-Centred Dementia Studies have received the Teaching Team Award from the University of Worcester. This award celebrates excellence and recognises outstanding practice in teaching and in supporting and leading learning. It also promotes innovative, inspiring and excellent practice which is outstanding in its impact to enhance and inspire student learning. The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) as a whole is quite modest, so it was a big step for the PGCert team to put themselves forward for the award. I think we can safely say that they’re glad they did!

The application was driven by Teresa Atkinson, Module Lead for two of the PGCert modules (Enabling environments for people living with dementia, and Dementia in the family context). She found out what the team needed to do, and brought together information from Dr Chris Russell (PGCert Programme Lead and Module Lead for Engagement and empowerment in dementia studies), Nicola Jacobson-Wright (Module Lead for Person-Centred Leadership: The VIPS approach, and Expert practice in delivering person-centred dementia care), Mary Bruce (Module Lead for Supporting people with advanced dementia, and Applying the Admiral Nurse Competency Framework), and Jen Bray (technical support to help develop course content and upload it to the teaching platform Blackboard).

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Course options – what can you study?

Last week our blog told you that if you’ve studied with us on any of our courses you were eligible to be nominated for the Hennell Award, so this week we thought we’d tell you a bit more about the courses themselves! Using the list from last week:

Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies

Hopefully it won’t be a surprise to any of you that we offer a fully online Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies, as we’ve mentioned it just a few times in previous blogs! We’ve got a range of modules available covering different aspects of dementia, and different ways to study.

  • You can do the whole Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)
  • You can do the Postgraduate Award, which is a double module (30 credits)
  • You can study an individual module that particularly takes your interest (15 credits). If you enjoy it, you can always go on to do other modules or complete the Certificate, so it’s a non-committal way to see how you get on.

Our new cohort of students has just started, but the next modules will begin in September. If it’s the sort of thing you’ve been considering, or maybe you’ve got a few questions to work out if it’s right for you, please have a look at our website and get in touch. You’re not committing to anything, so it won’t hurt to ask, and there’s no such thing as a silly question!

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Putting learning into practice

Our January cohort of students have completed their Postgraduate Certificate modules, and our next cohort is yet to start in September, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at what our students think about the course and how they’ve been putting their learning into practice. This blog uses a lot of the information presented by our Module Leads during a recent ‘Learning and teaching conference’ hosted by the University of Worcester where they looked at ‘What can FULLY online learning teach us?’ Thanks to the team for allowing us to use some of their images.

Module Lead Teresa Atkinson presenting at the conference
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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.

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Dementia in the family context – a new online option to study with us

As thoughts for many move to Christmas lists and New Year resolutions, you may recall reflections past that made you want to develop personally, push your abilities and expand your knowledge. This has been an extraordinary year for family carers and the effects of the pandemic will be a thread within our upcoming Dementia in the Family Context module starting in January 2021 (closing date November 30th 2020). If you have an appetite for more than mince pies, why not take a look?

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People with dementia contributing original content to the online educational offering of a new University course as part of everyday citizenship

Our blog this week is by Dr Chris Russell who has been working with Jennifer Bray to enable a variety of people to record video content for his forthcoming module. Here, Chris discusses the process they put in place to work with ‘J’, a lady with dementia. Over to Chris:

The voices and viewpoints of people living with dementia are fundamental to underpinning and informing our distance learning Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Studies. Capturing insights has been made challenging by the Covid-19 virus and its consequences, however. Nowhere more so than in preparation for the module ‘Engagement and Empowerment in Dementia Studies’, where the original insights of people affected by dementia are essential to learning.

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Expert Practice in Delivering Person-Centred Dementia Care: is it for me?

Have you heard of our online module Expert Practice in Delivering Person-Centred Dementia Care and wondered if it’s the sort of course that you could take? Find out more with this week’s blog post which is written by the Module Lead Isabelle Latham. Take it away Izzie:

So, it’s come to that time again when the application deadline looms for the module I lead: MDEM4003 – Expert Practice in delivering Person-Centred Dementia Care. This is an exciting time, as I know already we have enough students to go ahead so I get to find out who will be joining me in January!

The past year has been a rollercoaster; with my first experience of delivering the module online and a global pandemic thrown in the mix just to keep us all on our toes. However, it’s gone well and this year’s students continue to make me proud with their commitment to their studies as they work towards their final assignment at the end of the year.

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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.

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New modules to announce – expanding our online offer

Although it seems far off at the moment, we wanted to let you know about two new online modules that we’ll be offering from September. They will add to our existing modules, and if you want to join us you need to apply by 20th July.

What are the new modules?

One of our new online modules is ‘Supporting people living with advanced dementia’, which will cover a variety of approaches and challenges relating to this phase of the dementia journey such as communication, pain and advanced care planning (amongst others). This module will be run by Mary Bruce.

The other new module is ‘Enabling environments for people living with dementia’. This module will get you thinking about the impact of the environment on people with dementia and how it contributes to autonomy and preservation of self and identity. This module will be run by Teresa Atkinson.

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