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Published: 21 May 2015

New initiative helps students understand what life is like with dementia

‘Time for Dementia’ pairs undergraduates with dementia sufferers and their carers as part of their programme.

Health care demands are changing in Britain, as an ageing population brings with it an increasing pressure to cope with the long-term illnesses that arise as a consequence. As a result of this, health care education must also change. Students need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and professional values necessary to manage these chronic conditions with understanding and compassion.

In light of this, the University of Surrey is pleased to announce its involvement in the ground-breaking Time for Dementia initiative, which aims to provide students with a unique opportunity to understand what it’s like to live with dementia.

The initiative, which has been integrated into our Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Paramedic Practice programmes, pairs students with people with dementia and their carers. Students visit on a regular basis over a two-to-three year period, undertaking a range of activities for two to four hours at a time.

It is anticipated that as well as skills, students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the condition and build a greater understanding of the challenges it poses and the impact on the person and their family.

In total, 800 students will take part in the programme, along with 400 people with dementia and their carers, representing a scale that has not be attempted anywhere in the world before.

Wendy Grosvenor, Teaching Fellow in Dementia at the School of Health Sciences, commented: “Dementia is a global issue, and we are thrilled to be part of an initiative that may have implications for the delivery of health care education internationally.

"At the University of Surrey, we endeavour to achieve success in both innovation and research. The Time for Dementia programme addresses both of these aspirations.”

Time for Dementia is funded by Health Education England, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (HEKSS) and represents a collaboration between the University of Surrey, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Centre for Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Learn more about Dementia Awareness Week 2015, which takes place from 17-23 May, or explore our Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery subject page.