Posadem Project

Introduction

The Positive about Dementia project was planned in response to the pan-European challenge of dementia care.

It is estimated that 9.9 million people in Europe have dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2010), accounting for over 28% of the total number of people with dementia worldwide. The EC has highlighted the striking disparities between and even within member states and the shortcomings in terms of staff training and qualifications. This project aimed to respond to the European Commission call for adequate services of good quality to be provided for people living with dementia and those caring for them. The European Commission (EC) is concerned about the shortage of health care professionals and social workers available to care for people with dementia and the anticipated increase in this shortage in the future. This project aimed to educate, equip and train health and social care, and other professionals (e.g. legal and design) for their role with people living with dementia.

Positive About Dementia (Posadem) was an EU multi-lateral project to develop an interdisciplinary Masters programme to educate and develop an effective and informed dementia workforce. It was launched in September 2013 and was funded by the EU Lifelong Learning programme.  The programme took a positive and appreciative view of the lived experience of people living with dementia. The curriculum contains modules that explore dementia awareness, evidence-based practice, research to inform dementia support, the wellbeing of people with dementia, end of life care, a human-rights-based approach to dementia, and design for dementia. An extensive network of health and social care and other professionals, people living with dementia, and their carers and families were consulted during module design. A particularly innovative aspect of the programme is that each module assessment includes dissemination and integration of learning into practice in the services used by people living with dementia, to promote an optimal impact in society.

Posadem was led by the University of Salford (UK) and drew on the strengths of partners with established working relationships from across Europe, including Dublin City University (Ireland), Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (Austria), Maastricht University (The Netherlands), Saimaa University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and Bournemouth University (UK). These partners have expertise in dementia, online blended learning, and interdisciplinary curriculum development at a Masters level that will be essential for success. The team encouraged sharing of best practice throughout Europe to help address inequity of care standards. The project also linked with the EU-funded STAR and ALCOVE dementia projects to ensure a cohesive European strategy to dementia understanding, education, and action.

Objectives

There were three principal objectives:

  1. To develop a curriculum for a pan European Joint Masters Degree in Dementia Care.
  2. To develop services to support the implementation of the Degree: administrative services, student support, virtual learning environment and network of clinical partners.
  3.  To write a business plan for exploitation and sustainability.