Time for Dementia: professional development, Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Improving patient experience through increased dementia awareness in professional training for medical students.


The Purpose

Time for Dementia was developed to increase understanding and awareness of dementia among healthcare professionals.  There are more than 67,500 people living with dementia in Kent Surrey and Sussex and this is due to rise over the next ten years. Students and health professionals often see people facing acute episodes of illness, which  could lead to misperceptions what it might be like to live with a long-term condition like dementia. Time for Dementia addresses this by providing opportunities to learn from lived experience - things that the lecturers and ward experience could not teach them. 


Funding was made available by Health Education Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

Join Dementia Research (a national initiative) has been used to help recruit families to take part in Make Time for Dementia. 

What happened

Time for Dementia, a partnership programme with Alzheimer's Society and Brighton and Sussex Medical School, provides undergraduate healthcare professionals with on-going, regular contact with a person with dementia and their carer. In pairs, the students visit the same family in their own home over a two year period. They can also follow the person with dementia to see them in a residential setting if they move into a long-term care setting.

Time for Dementia is now embedded at five universities as a mandatory part of the curriculum.

  • medical students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).
  • nursing and paramedic students at University of Surrey
  • Nursing, paramedic, occupational therapy and physio therapy students and University of Brighton
  • Nursing, paramedic and speech and language therapy students and University of Greenwich
  • Nursing, occupational therapy and radiography students at Christ Church University

The results

Since Time for Dementia started in 2014, over 1100  families in Kent, Surrey and Sussex have helped train around 2600 students to gain a better understanding of dementia.  

Research shows that students’ knowledge, attitudes and approaches to dementia all improved over the two years of taking part in Time for Dementia.  Students report that “It opened my eyes to the different ways people cope with dementia” (Adult Nursing Student). Another student said 'Meeting real people and hearing their stories... really helped me to understand the reality of dementia over and above the textbook medical definitions.'

What's changed for people with dementia

People affected by dementia and their carers or family members report that they have enjoyed taking part in Time for Dementia. They describe that they feel like they are making a difference and enjoy the continuity of seeing the same students.

A person with dementia said “I feel that whatever we do or say, they will learn something from it, from me.” 

Learning points

  • The Time for Dementia programme is always looking for families who would like to take part.  You can hear what some of our families think about taking part in this short film. 

Key contact to find out more

For more information, including about taking part as a family, [email protected].

Useful link

Time for Dementia: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Time for Dementia: learning about life after a diagnosis (pdf) NHS Health Education Kent, Sussex and Surrey