The provision of accredited Higher Education on dementia in six European countries: an exploratory study

Simona Hvalič-Touzery, Brigita Skela-Savič, Rhoda MacRae, Anna Waugh, Debbie Tolson, Amanda Hellström, Wilson Abreu, Katja Pesjak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
244 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The World Health Organisation has identified developing the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals who are involved in dementia care as a priority. Most healthcare professionals lack the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to provide high quality dementia care. While dementia education amongst most UK university health and social care programmes is inconsistent, we know little about the provision of dementia education in European universities.

Objectives: To examine the provision of accredited higher education on dementia in European countries, to illustrate that it is highly variable despite universities being the major provider of education for healthcare professionals internationally.

Design: An exploratory research design was used.

Settings: The providers of higher education undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Participants: Higher Education Institutions who provide undergraduate and postgraduate education in the fields of nursing, medicine, psychology, social work, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and gerontology in six European countries.

Methods: The data was collected using a structured questionnaire. Researchers in each country conducted an internet-based search using the websites of Higher Education Institutions to identify existing accredited dementia education.
Results: These searches revealed a lack of dementia education in undergraduate health and social care study programmes. Three of the six countries offered postgraduate study programmes on dementia. There was a significant variation amongst the countries in relation to the provision of dementia education at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels.

Conclusions: Dementia is a global challenge and educating and upskilling the workforce is a policy imperative. To deliver the best dementia care, investment in interprofessional evidence-based education is required if we are to respond effectively and compassionately to the needs of people living with dementia and their families. Higher Education Institutions have an important role to play in equipping health and social care professional with the knowledge, skills and understanding to respond to this imperative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date6 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • dementia
  • Dementia Palliare
  • Europe
  • postgraduate education
  • undergraduate education


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