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University of Bradford offers unique dementia assessment teaching


The University of Bradford's School of Dementia Studies is offering a unique programme of teaching in the assessment and diagnosis of dementia.

The postgraduate certificate in dementia for practitioners with a special interest is the first of its kind in England. It is designed for practitioners from a variety of clinical backgrounds, including GPs and nurses, providing diagnostic services and ongoing support for people with dementia.

The programme, led by Dr Sarah Smith, is the first to incorporate research concerning the application of conversational techniques to help determine whether or not patients have dementia.

The technique aims to reduce stress on the patient during the assessment process, obtaining as much information as possible from verbal and non-verbal cues during the conversation. The technique can be used to complement standard tests used in the diagnosis of dementia.

Developed with input from the Royal College of GPs, study involves both face-to-face and online distance learning. The programme is intended for groups of health professionals from single localities supported by a commissioning group or NHS trust.

The programme, and the research informing it, stems from recent government reports identifying the need for earlier and timelier diagnosis for people with dementia. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia report in 2012 identified the need for diagnosis to be embedded in local communities.

Dr Danielle Jones, Lecturer in Dementia Studies, said: “The research that we have incorporated into this programme really is cutting edge and we are delighted that we have been able to apply it to practice-based teaching. The programme upskills practitioners and provides the skills and knowledge to enable them to undertake person-centred assessments that really support the wellbeing of people.”

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