University of Sussex
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Dementia care training for residential care workers: building residential care workers’ own views into a conceptual model

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posted on 2023-06-09, 13:51 authored by Lorraine Ellames
This thesis is the result of research that investigated the views of residential care workers (RCWs) working with people with dementia about their perceptions of training for their dementia care role with older people. Using a constructivist ontology and an interpretivist epistemology, the research investigates how care workers perceive their training and how they feel it can be applied to their working environment. RCWs were asked what they saw as the specific needs of residents with dementia, what training they had received, how useful they perceived the training to be, and what training they felt was still needed. Previous studies had put forward topics for inclusion into dementia care training, but very little research had asked RCWs themselves about their dementia training needs. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were carried out across three care home organisations during the summer of 2013 in the East of England. Findings from thematic analysis showed that the care workers interviewed had very limited or no dementia training or assessment they could remember, and that training had generally been a negative experience. Dementia care trainers were not considered helpful or knowledgeable enough and RCWs identified that their learning needs had not been taken into consideration. The learning environment was viewed as unsuitable, usually a lounge or a bedroom where it was very cramped and RCWs were pulled out of training when there were limited staff numbers. Many challenges specific to caring with people with dementia were also identified: challenging behaviour, lack of time and resources, poor teamwork and communication and lack of organisational support all inhibited the development of person-centred care and training transfer into practice. A conceptual model of the training and learning cycle is proposed as a way forward for dementia training. This model illustrates the training process from course creation through to satisfactory completion. Learning into practice is measured by care workers’ knowledge, confidence, and competence. This assessment is a two-way process between the learner and the mentor to ensure RCWs feel fully supported and recognised. Although this conceptual model has not been tested empirically, such a process is seen as a possible next step.


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  • Social Work and Social Care Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • dsw


  • eng


University of Sussex

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