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The first stakeholder meeting took place in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, on 24th Feb 2014. Representatives from the fields of Physiotherapy, the Health Service Executive, Nursing, Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Architecture and the Built Environment were in attendance and written comment was received from an Occupational Therapy representative. The meeting was facilitated by Professor Anthea Innes, Bournemouth University and other members of the Posadem team were also in attendance.

There was a general consensus that the programme provides an opportunity to offer a positive way to highlight dementia. Participants felt there was value in a pan-European interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on practice development. Such an approach was felt to have more status in terms of attracting students and could build on existing successful European projects. They commented on a current gap at Master’s level and were keen that the programme should focus on ability in dementia rather than loss.

The meeting was keen that the programme should not be exclusive and that the key criteria for participation should be an interest in dementia. The programme should be available not just to professionals but also to people living with dementia and their carers. The participants believed that a wide range of groups could potentially benefit from this programme, and the following were specifically mentioned:

• Community workers.
• Occupational Therapists
• Built environment professionals
• Gaming Technology field
• Legal Professionals
• Pharmacists

It was also suggested that a combined National and European focus might be beneficial, while an International approach might be even more valuable.

Programme delivery was discussed, with the meeting acknowledging the benefits of blended learning. Good technical support for virtual or online learning was seen as essential with face-to–face interaction needed to develop a sense of a learning community.

Stakeholders agreed that flexibility was essential in terms of programme delivery from the ways of accessing the programme to accreditation of different qualifications at different exit points. It was also recognised that funding opportunities needed to be investigated with participants offering a number of initial possibilities.

The meeting spent some time discussing what might be the most important part of module content and the list below summarises those ideas.

• Living well with dementia.
• Managing risk so that people can live well in their community.
• Universal design (built environment, internal design etc.) There was discussion that this concept should thread through the entire programme.
• What can we teach people with dementia.
• Dementia friendly areas, areas to socialise in, parks, exercise groups etc.
• Awareness and understanding, perspectives on dementia.
• The relationship between occupation, health and well-being
• Occupational analysis and engagement
• Communication, activities, reminiscence.
• Environment and occupational engagement
• EU and local policy.
• Social policy to include housing and education.
• Social Welfare.
• Public Health.
• Legislation and legal frameworks.
• Human Rights (including legislation).
• Professional development and practice.
• Management skills.
• Change management.
• Issues relating to sexuality and people with dementia.
• Care modules.
• Relationship dynamics – supporting the person to support someone living with dementia.
• Care across the continuum, including transitions.
• End of life.
• Health awareness and promotion.
• Option of elective modules.

It was also suggested that techniques and skills for working with people living with dementia should thread through the entire course.

The final stages of the meeting considered how the programme could be marketed, any potential barriers and how the success of the programme could be measured. Stakeholders were agreed it is important to contextualise the programme and emphasise both its European and multi-disciplinary focus with the potential to standardise education and practice across Europe. The importance of high quality, accessible advertising was raised and the need to create a ‘buzz’ around the programme. It was felt that the programme could be marketed to and aimed at organisations and professional bodies as well as individuals. Buy in from professional, inspectorate and accreditation bodies was seen to be essential.

A number of barriers were recognised. These included time, the difficulties associated with any form of work release, language difficulties, costs, differing student practice levels and convincing students of the benefits of a pan-European programme over a national one.

When it came to making the programme successful, one idea put forward was that students produce a research piece aimed at changing practice. When it came to measuring the success of the programme, those attending suggested that individual or organisational change would indicate success. In the longer term any change in National policy might also be an indicator of success.

Consultation with stakeholders in other partner countries is currently in progress and it is intended to hold a second stakeholder meeting in Ireland in the Autumn of 2014.