Dementia Through the Eyes of a Child


When did you first introduce the innovation?

More than 24 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS), School of Health Nursing and Midwifery, has collaborated with South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) Education Department to enhance the student learning experience through the research, development and delivery of a variety of health promotion/ health education topics to children in primary and secondary schools within the South Lanarkshire area. This established partnership allowed the Health Promotion team to introduce the topic of Dementia to school children, 10-12 years of age. We acknowledge the Scottish Government Dementia Strategy (2010), Dementia Standards (2011) and Promoting Excellence (2012) which highlight the increasing need for public awareness and better understanding of this condition (NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Social Services Council, 2011).

In April-May 2013, final year BSc Adult Nursing students researched the topic of dementia and, created from the Alzheimer Scotland published information, contributed to the

development of an interactive teaching plan suitable for primary and secondary school children. Students delivered the interactive teaching session on dementia which was followed by workshops where pupils were exposed to a simulated ‘dementia experience’.

We anticipate that by raising the awareness of dementia with school children, they will have increased knowledge and understanding of the condition and therefore be better placed to support people in their community who are living with the condition. Subsequently, this experience will enhance the student nurses’ ability to research, plan and deliver dementia awareness to school children whilst improving the care of people with dementia.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

The main drivers for this initiative are the Scottish Government’s Dementia Strategy (2010), Dementia Standards (2011) and Promoting Excellence (2012). There are at least 84,024 adults in Scotland with dementia and the projected figure is 127,000 by the year 2031. With a shift from care in an acute setting to care in a community setting (General Register Office for Scotland, 2012, Alzheimer Scotland, 2012) it could therefore be assumed that at some point some of the participants in this initiative will come into contact with someone with dementia.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

Student nurses raising awareness of a significant health issue with children helps prepare them to care for not only the person living with dementia, but anyone who is vulnerable within their community and helps prepare them for citizenship and adulthood.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

Provides the opportunity for BSc Adult and Mental Health students from Parts 1, 2 and 3 to work together to deliver dementia awareness session and workshops, whilst affording the opportunity for peer support and peer review.

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

Formally acknowledged by Education Scotland as innovative practice following a recent HMIE inspection at one of the schools who participated in the seminal research. Highlighted in Education Scotland website as good practice.

Verbal commendation from Ros Moore, formerly Chief Nursing Officer, Scotland.

Verbal commendation by UWS Court Senate members.

School pupil verbal evaluation: has resulted in pupils being able to demonstrate verbally an understanding of dementia and to express empathy towards those whom might experience it. This empathy remained evident with many of the pupils long after the project had finished. The pupils were asked to draw pictures or write poetry to depict how they thought someone with dementia may feel. The poetry and artwork were professionally mounted and exhibited for public viewing in Glasgow’s: Scotland Street School Museum. This prompted feedback in Visitor’s Book: Scotland Street Museum from visitors from all around the world

Student evaluation is ongoing and remains overwhelmingly positive and is available if required.

Teacher evaluation data is ongoing and although has not yet been analysed due to ongoing commitments, verbal feedback is extremely positive.

This innovation meets all dimensions of United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework, addresses areas of activity A1-A5, core knowledge K1-K6 and professional values V1-V4.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

Journal publication:

July 2014: Nursing Standard (66 July 23: vol 28 No 47: 2014)

Title: A fresh view of Dementia

Authors: Fiona Everett, Wendy Wright, Winifred McGarry and Caroline Adam

Oral presentations:

April 2014: Sixth Scottish Caring and Dementia Congress, Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Title: Dementia: through the eyes of a child. An evaluation of the knowledge and understanding gained by primary and secondary school children following the delivery of an interactive dementia awareness session and workshop to simulate the ‘dementia experience’.

Authors: Winifred McGarry, Caroline Adam, Fiona Everett, Wendy Wright

Poster presentations:

September 2013: Enhancing Nursing through Educational Research (ENTER) Conference

Theme: Quality and values-based care

Title: ‘Dementia: Through the eyes of a child’ An evaluation of the knowledge and understanding gained by primary and secondary school children following the delivery of an interactive dementia awareness session and workshop to simulate the ‘dementia experience’.

Authors: Winifred McGarry, Caroline Adam, Fiona Everett, and Wendy Wright

September 2014: NET2014, Networking for Healthcare Education Conference, Cambridge, England

Title: A day at the museum: Integrating theory with practice

Authors: Fiona Everett, Wendy Wright, Winnie McGarry, Caroline Adam

May 2015: Sixth International Clinical Skills Conference, University of Monash, Prato Italy

Title: Poster presentation and 5 minute oral for the Evolution of Class in a bag© Title: Poster presentation and 5 minute oral for ‘A Day at the Museum: Raising Public Awareness of Dementia’ (Reference number 0123)

Authors: Winifred McGarry, Caroline Adam, Fiona Everett and Wendy Wright