Discover better ways to support people with dementia. Explore signs and symptoms, interventions, support networks and more.

6,975 enrolled on this course

Foundations in Dementia
  • Duration6 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $69Find out more

Gain expert knowledge and skills to care for individuals living with dementia

Dementia is becoming more common worldwide. On this course, you will learn to understand people with dementia and to care appropriately as a professional or family supporter. Spanning six topics from prevention and diagnosis to end of life care, the course also offers insights from recent research.

Whatever your role in dementia care, by engaging with the resources and exchanging views with others, you will gain knowledge, skills, and confidence in dealing with people with dementia. Some of the material is specific to England and Wales, such as the legal context and health service provision.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Dementia is a progressive and incurable brain disorder that presents a major challenge for society. As populations age, the number of people affected by dementia increase. People affected include individuals with the condition, but dementia also affects family members who support them and the communities where they live. The good news is that with support, people can live a relatively normal life at home with dementia, often for many years. But in order to enable them to achieve this aim, employers, local government, services, and community groups have to understand the needs of people with dementia. As impairments of dementia become more pronounced, health and social care providers need to offer timely and skilled interventions that can anticipate needs so that crisis can be avoided.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds So dementia affects many people in the community. This course has been developed to meet the learning requirements for health and social care professionals who work with people with dementia. In addition, it will be useful to family carers, friends, concerned neighbours, and dementia volunteers. In 6 2-hour units, this course will help you to understand dementia from the first signs until the end of life. It shows what makes good care practice from start to finish. Whether you are a paid professional, volunteer, family member, friend, or neighbour, this course will give you the confidence to provide effective support for people with dementia.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds [APPLAUSE]


  • Week 1

    Causes and Prevention of Dementia

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome to our course. Here we will give you an overview of what you are going to learn and assist you in beginning to understand dementia.

    • How the brain works

      The next steps will give an overview of how the brain works and what happens to the brain in dementia.

    • Cognition and dementia

      We consider the cognitive problems someone with dementia may experience, including problems with memory, language, recognising, coordination and decision-making.

    • Risk factors for dementia

      Here we look at the evidence that allows us to understand some of the risk factors for dementia.

    • Important note on Coronavirus

      In 2020, Coronavirus has altered the risks facing people with dementia and their carers. Evidence suggests that those with a diagnosis of dementia have relatively high mortality when infected with Covid-19.

    • Review, conclusion and research briefing: Genetic science

      Here you will find a quiz, a summary of the week's learning and an introduction to research which is exploring the role of genetics in the development of dementia.

  • Week 2

    Identification, Diagnosis and Treatment

    • Introduction to identification, diagnosis and treatment

      Here we will look at the early stage of dementia, from first signs noticed by family carers through diagnosis, assessment and treatment.

    • Seeking help

      What happens next, a step by step guide to dementia identification and diagnosis.

    • Non-medical Interventions

      An outline of alternatives to medication.

    • Review, Conclusion and Research Briefing: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

      Summary of the week's learning and some current research in this field.

  • Week 3

    Legal and Ethical Issues

    • Introduction to the UK legal context

      These introductory steps outline law and ethics in relation to the care of people with dementia.

    • Using the Mental Capacity Act

      Here we explore using the mental capacity act, consider distress behaviours and safeguarding, and we have a hotseat discussion with Cathy Brewin.

    • Human rights

      In this activity we look at the law surrounding human rights and you have the opportunity to undertake a peer review assignment.

    • Review, conclusion and research briefing: deprivation of liberty

      Here we review the week's learning and end the week with a research briefing on the deprivation of liberty.

  • Week 4

    Communication Skills

    • The challenge of effective communication

      An introduction to the week's activities focusing on communication.

    • Person centred care (PCC) and communication

      Exploration of how PCC can be integrated into dementia care communication.

    • Review, Summary and Research Briefing: the VOICE Study

      In this section we wrap up week 4.

  • Week 5

    Family and Friends Supporting People Living with Dementia

    • Care given by family and friends

      Here, we introduce the topic of care given by family and friends and look at becoming a carer.

    • Understanding skills needed by carers

      This activity will help you understand the skills that carers require to care for an individual with dementia.

    • Rewards, problems and satisfactions of caring

      Here we look at caring and the rewards and problems it can bring.

    • Review, Conclusion and Research Briefing: The AQUEDUCT Study

      A summary of the week and a research briefing giving you the option to continue your learning.

  • Week 6

    Living Well with Dementia and End of Life Care

    • What do we mean by 'quality of life'?

      Quality of life is arguably the most important outcome for a person with dementia.

    • Keeping well and planning for the future

      Here, a psychiatrist tells us what advice he gives people with dementia and we consider the part played by assistive technology and nutrition in caring for people with dementia.

    • End of life care

      When a person with dementia is dying difficult decisions can fall to those closest to them. This activity looks at palliative care, pain management in dementia and some issues around end of life.

    • Review, research briefing and more

      A summary of the week and a research briefing on falls and exercise in dementia, followed by an overview of the course and options to continue your learning.

    • Acknowledgements

      Thank you to our contributors, advisers and course participants.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify how lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of dementia
  • Assess the signs and symptoms that may indicate dementia and describe the pathway to diagnosis and treatment
  • Identify communication approaches which can support the person with dementia to communicate their needs
  • Debate ethical aspects of decision-making in the light of English laws and guidelines (Mental Capacity Act 2005, Care Act 2014 etc)
  • Describe the impact of caring on family supporters
  • Explore the meaning of person-centred care in view of the diversity of people with dementia and their supporters, while reflecting on the influence of one’s own culture, beliefs and values at all stages of dementia
  • Demonstrate awareness of what it means to live well with dementia and the contribution of assistive technology in everyday care
  • Assess strategies for pain management in palliative care and discuss how Advanced Decisions/Directives may be used in practice
  • Apply evidence from research to support effective care for people with dementia
  • Compare the impact of different interventions including medication and psychosocial approaches

Who is the course for?

This course would suit health and social care professionals (e.g. nurses, doctors, therapists and social workers). It will also interest students, carers of people with dementia, individuals with a recent diagnosis, volunteers, and dementia researchers.

Who will you learn with?

A social researcher in dementia for over 25 years, I also trained and practised as a social worker. I have over 100 peer-reviewed papers based on collaborative research in numerous studies.

A registered nurse and academic in dementia. I collaborate on a number of research studies which aim to improve the health and quality of life of people living with dementia.

I am a Principal Lecturer in Nursing at Nottingham Trent University. As a registered nurse and educator I have worked with many individuals who have dementia.

Who developed the course?

The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is committed to providing a truly international education, inspiring students with world-leading research and benefitting communities all around the world.

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