Time for Dementia programme

Time for Dementia is an exciting, innovative, multi-award-winning educational programme designed to create a new generation of healthcare professionals who are more aware and understanding of dementia.

What is Time for Dementia?

The Time for Dementia programme gives undergraduate healthcare students the unique opportunity to regularly meet with a person with dementia and their carer. The students can get to know the person and the carer outside of a clinical setting.

Regular meetings help trainee healthcare professionals understand what it’s really like to live with dementia.

How does the Time for Dementia programme work?

Time for Dementia runs in two ways; in-person or virtually.

In-person visits

People living with dementia and their family member or carer taking part in the programme are visited by a pair of students up to six times over two years. The visits are informal, lasting for 90 minutes, and occur every three to four months. These face-to-face visits are available for families who live in Southern England.

Virtual visits

The virtual format is available nationally. Families have visits with a group of students either on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The virtual visits follow a similar format to the in-person meetings. There are five virtual visits over two years with each session lasting for 90 minutes.

What are the requirements to join Time for Dementia?

Participants are not required to have a memory or needs assessment to join the programme.

The Time for Dementia programme is always looking for families affected by dementia who want to participate. Whether you want to join or learn more, please email us at [email protected] or call us on 07562 430 204. 

What are the benefits of taking part in Time for Dementia?

Benefits of getting involved for people affected by dementia

People affected by dementia have described a range of benefits they have experienced through getting involved:

  • developing confidence
  • new skills
  • opportunities to learn more about dementia
  • sharing knowledge
  • feeling valued.

People affected by dementia have told us they have felt incredibly empowered by taking part and have found it rewarding to know they are making a difference.

'I feel that whatever we do or say, they will learn something from it, from me.'
- Person with dementia

The informal nature of this programme means that students have a unique opportunity to get to know the families, humanise dementia and understand who they are as a person and who they were before dementia.

Benefits of getting involved for trainee healthcare professionals

The Time for Dementia programme allows students to learn from the experts on dementia – the people directly affected – by meeting with them outside of a clinical setting.

Students have reported that regularly meeting people living with dementia as well as carers have challenged their previous views and preconceptions. And we find what they learn during their visits is something that really cannot be taught in a lecture or textbook but is about sitting on the sofa with the family and hearing their first-hand experience of living with dementia.

'Meeting real people and hearing their stories had really helped me to understand the reality of dementia over and above the textbook medical definitions.' 
- Student participant

Our research shows improvements to students’ knowledge, understanding, and attitudes towards dementia. They report that they have gained knowledge of what it might be like to live with dementia, that their confidence and skills in communicating with people with dementia has improved, and that they have more awareness of the role of carers.

How successful has the programme been so far?

Funded by Health Education England, the programme has been running since 2014.

Since the programme started, over 1,600 families in Southern England have enabled over 5,600 students to gain a better understanding of dementia. Learn more about the success of the programme in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Time for Dementia is currently embedded as a mandatory part of the curriculum for nursing, paramedic and dietetic students at University of Surrey, medical students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and multiple medical schools and universities across the South of England.

Why is Time for Dementia so important?

With the number of people affected by dementia predicted to rise sharply in the coming years, more people in the field of healthcare need to have a better understanding of the condition.

'It’s not just about the medical side of getting a diagnosis; it’s about helping students to understand the bigger picture and the wider implications for me and my wife. It is also really important that they understand that I am still a person not just a diagnosis - that really matters.'
- Carer of person living with dementia

We recognise that typical healthcare education tends to focus on block clinical placements with an emphasis on crisis, or acute illness, so students only see a snapshot of what it is like to live with dementia.

All health and social care staff should be provided with basic training about dementia, and we hope in time this programme will help to improve care for people living with dementia.

Learn more about taking part

The Time for Dementia programme is always looking for families affected by dementia who want to participate. Whether you want to join or learn more about it, please get in touch by email at [email protected] or by phone on 07562 430 204.

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Follow Time for Dementia on Twitter: @Time4Dementia

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