Health A lesson in the value of learning

A lesson in the value of learning

Sometimes a little extra understanding goes a long way.

We can’t cure diseases like dementia, but we can help sufferers live happier lives.

Research from the University of Tasmania shows more in-depth education helps carers do just that.

A study of the university’s Understanding Dementia course, an open online offering available to students anywhere in the world found measurable improvements in key areas.

Almost 200,000 people have enrolled in the course since 2013, ranging from family members to aged care support workers, fully qualified nursing staff and health professionals.

Professor Fran McInerney says the course was designed to help fill knowledge gaps and change widely held attitudes towards dementia.

“[It] promotes social engagement on this issue by large numbers of people, it builds awareness and reduces stigma, and promotes a compassionate approach to dementia care based on a thorough understanding of the condition,” she says.

The university developed a Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale to measure how participants’ understanding of the disease had changed.

It found greatly increased knowledge in areas vital to high-quality dementia care, regardless of previous education or prior experience.

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