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Analisa Smythe

Part-time PhD student

Analisa Smythe

Research title: To investigate the effects of a brief psychosocial training intervention for staff working with people living with dementia.

Supervisors: Prof Jan Oyebode and Prof Murna Downs.

My PhD thesis sets out to: 1) investigate the outcome of 2 interventions: A brief psychosocial training intervention (BPTI) and a standard classroom based Professional Development Learning Programme (PDLP) for staff working with people with dementia in a range of settings, 2) explore how to achieve best outcomes from training 3) explore how the knowledge and skills taught are implemented in practice.


According to the Independent Commission on Dignity in Care (2012) staff who are appropriately trained will feel valued and empowered to change culture, make decisions to challenge poor care and will be the ones who support dignified care. Essential for effective team-working is a supportive management culture where staff have positive role models and are mentored and supervised. Training to enable nurses to support workers, promote team working and quality outcomes, leadership and modelling of appropriate attitudes and behaviour is key to improving care quality (Tadd et al, 2013).

A wide range of dementia training is available in the UK. However there is a lack of consistency in the delivery of programmes, including the content and training methods. The Literature suggests that improvements in staff knowledge and skills are not always maintained over time.  There is little evidence that traditional training, often based in “lecture rooms” brings about changes in attitudes and behaviour (Age UK, 2012). Evidence suggests current dementia care training is not sufficient to change cultures of care when only delivered at an awareness raising level (Age UK, 2012).


A mixed method design has been used to evaluate a combination of interventions; training delivered in the workplace, university based education and supervision to reinforce potential care quality improvements. Standardised outcome measures will be completed at baseline, post intervention and 16 weeks following the intervention. Should the training prove beneficial it could be delivered to a large number of nurses in care homes, providing sustained improvements in dignified care for people living with dementia, improved leadership skills, reduction in burn-out and increased confidence in the care of people living with dementia.