The first phase of the evaluation commenced in 2015 when the programme started and was completed in March 2018. The evaluation of Time for Dementia used a mixed methods design, and involved students receiving the programme as well as those who did not, and included families involved in the programme. This phase sought to answer the following questions;
- What is the impact of the programme on student learning about dementia?
- What are the experiences on the families and students who are involved?
- How might the programme be improved?
- What is the impact of taking part in the programme on the families involved?
Our preliminary findings at both 12 and 24 months show positive changes in knowledge and attitudes to dementia, and we have observed statistically significant improvements in both dementia knowledge and attitudes in the Time for Dementia intervention group compared to the control group.
From our qualitative research with students, we know that they gained knowledge of what it might be like to live with dementia, are more aware of the psycho-social impact of dementia, that their confidence and skills in communicating with people with dementia has improved, and that they have more awareness of the impact and role of carers.
From our qualitative interviews with families, we know that families feel motivated to take part in the programme for altruistic purposes and wish to raise awareness and increase knowledge about dementia.
The experience of taking part has been of value to families, many have enjoyed taking part, helping student learn and making a difference. Carers also felt it gave them an opportunity to have their voice heard in their caring journey.
Many families were very happy with the students who visited, describing them as friendly, warm and professional. Families reported that it gave hope for future generations of healthcare professionals. They recognised and appreciated the fact that their involvement would have an important role to play in student learning.
Families have also felt the person with dementia benefited from the social aspect of the student visits in their own home.