The University of Southampton

HLTH6165 Supporting People with Dementia and their Families

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and understanding to support people with dementia and their families in an enabling, lawful, non-discriminatory, and gender-sensitive way. The module will enable you to research and study in-depth the lived experience of dementia, and critically evaluate and reflect upon the evidence base and key principles underpinning quality care for this client group. The module is informed by: • The Curriculum for Dementia Education (UK Higher Education For Dementia Network, 2009); • Promoting Excellence: A framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers (Scottish Government, 2011); • Latest policy and scientific evidence from across the world.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To develop your understanding, skills, and confidence in respect of supporting adults with dementia and their families. In particular, this module will enable you to practice within the parameters of relevant policy, legislation and theoretical approaches, and develop your interpersonal and problem-solving skills

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the current evidence relating to understanding the feelings and perspectives of men and women with dementia, and their families, and applying that understanding to practice;
  • Critically analyse the theoretical base of person centred, and relationship-centred, dementia care and the underpinning values;
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of practice within the parameters of Mental Health law, Mental Capacity and other relevant legislation;
  • Systematically critique application of the principle of “duty of care” to situations pertinent to people with dementia;
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the underlying principles and key aspects of psycho-social approaches used to enhance the well-being of people with a dementia;
  • Critically evaluate the current evidence relating to understanding the feelings and perspectives of men and women with dementia, and their families, and applying that understanding to practice;
  • Justify evidence-based decisions related to assessment of a situation where sub-optimal practice is apparent, and develop a creative strategy to both safeguard and empower the person with dementia;
  • Devise an innovative strategy to develop practice drawing on the current evidence for best practice in communication with people with dementia;


• The lived experience of dementia for men and women from diverse backgrounds; • The impact of a diagnosis of dementia on quality of life, including family life; • Principles and values of person centred and relationship-centred dementia care; • Representations of dementia and people with dementia in film and fiction; influence on societal attitudes • The incidence and prevalence of different forms of dementia in the UK and globally; • Cultural perspectives and representations of dementia; • Introduction to anatomy of the brain and the effect dementia has on it; • The neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease; • The inter-relationship of physical and mental health in people with dementia; • Citizenship perspectives; enabling participation, recognising and realising the potential of individuals. • Taking a rights-based approach, seeing dementia as a disability; • Effective strategies for communicating with people with dementia and their families; • Approaches to recognising, assessing, and alleviating pain and ill-being; • Legal standards of care e.g. Mental Health law, Mental Capacity and other relevant legislation; • The principles of ‘duty of care’, risk-taking, and advocacy; • The ethics and practice of truth-telling and duty of candour; • Recognising and promoting well-being in people with advanced dementia; • Involving people with dementia and their families in service and policy development.

Special Features

The module is informed by the field of health humanities; scenes from certain films and works of fiction are used in this module to explore what it means to live with dementia, to care, to be cared for, and to be human.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module uses a blend of approaches to teaching including (1) web based case-studies and conventional teaching methods, including (2) academic tutorials, small group-work, and guest lectures/talks, delivered in two, two-day study blocks (16 hours in total), and (3) peer-mentoring, which entails buddying up with another other student on the course who is from a different country and/or care setting than your own. (1) You will be presented with two case studies based on a real or realist situation that reflect the complexity of supporting people with dementia and their families from culturally diverse backgrounds. Each case will reflect a particular concept or topic related to supporting people with dementia, including for example, assessing capacity, the role of family carers, balancing safeguarding and rights. You will be asked to think critically about each case and work independently through a series of carefully designed questions to investigate the situation further, to develop your capacity to manage and respond effectively to the complexities involved. Each case will comprise of a range of learning materials such as links to policy documents and research papers, newspaper articles, spoken dialogue and visual files, which you will be asked to review and use to create an effective response to the case. The case studies will be web-based on Blackboard and we will utilise the full functionality of this managed learning environment, such as adaptive release, self and peer assessment features, and course blogs to ensure you have a rich and global learning experience. Full instructions on how to use Blackboard will be provided during induction and a wide range of training materials is available online from this link (2) You will be expected to attend a two, two-day study blocks at Highfield Campus, University of Southampton to deepen your learning about supporting people with dementia through dialogue with others and by engaging with research-led teaching. These study blocks are designed to scaffold and support your learning and to provide opportunities for learning through dialogue with people from a different care setting and/or country than your own. Each study block will have a set of clear learning goals related to the web-based case studies, and incorporate small group activities to foster peer-support, interagency and inter-professional group working, and global learning. The study blocks will provide an opportunity for you to discuss findings from your own research and to work on cases in more depth. Guest speakers will be invited to give key note lectures and talks related to the topic under scrutiny. (3) You will be asked to buddy-up with another student on the module who is from a different country and/or care setting than your own. We call this peer-mentoring and the idea is that it creates an opportunity for you to learn about supporting people with dementia by spending time with a peer - another student - who comes from a different background and/or care setting than your own. You will be expected to undertake some learning and assessment activities with your student ‘buddy’ for the web-based case studies and during the study blocks. Together these strategies will allow for a deep understanding of supporting people with dementia, and provide a rich range of learning opportunities, thus ensuring a global learning experience.

Preparation for scheduled sessions44
Preparation for scheduled sessions80
Wider reading or practice44
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Kay, Jackie (2012). These are not my clothes (A short story) in Reality. 

Alzheimer’s Disease International (2013). The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050.. 

Representations of people with dementia - subaltern, person, citizen.. ,17 , pp. 240–7.

Gilliard, J & Marshall, M. (eds.) (2012). Transforming the quality of life for people with dementia through contact with the natural word: Fresh air on my face.. 

Still Alice (2015). Director: Wash Westermoreland. 

Dementia time to death: a systematic literature review on survival time and years of life lost in people with dementia.. ,24 , pp. 1034–45.

Psychosocial factors that shape patient and carer experiences of dementia diagnosis and treatment: A systematic review of qualitative studies..

Communication and interaction within dementia care triads: Developing a theory for relationship-centred care.. ,0 , pp. 0.

Prime Minister’s Challenge on dementia.

A Triangle of Care: Carers included. A Guide to Best Practice for Dementia Care.

Healey, E (2015). Elizabeth is Missing. 

Alzheimer’s Association 2014. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. ,10, , pp. 0.

Facilitating decision-making by people with dementia: is spousal support gendered?. ,35 , pp. 227–243.

Brooker, D. (2007). Person-centred dementia care: making services better. 

Alzheimer’s Disease International 2013. ,0 , pp. 0.

Bartlett, R and O’Connor, D (2010). Broadening the dementia debate: toward social citizenship. 

Interventions supporting self and identity in people with dementia: A systematic review. ,15 , pp. 797–810.

Developing theoretical understandings of dementia and their application to dementia care policy in the UK.. ,0 , pp. 0.

Dementia: A public health priority..

Enhancing the Healing Environment..

Bryden, C. & MacKinlay, E. (2008). Dementia: A journey towards a spiritual self. MacKinlay, E (2008) Aging, Disability and Spirituality: Addressing the challenge of disability in later life. 

Toward a political model of dementia: Power as compassionate care. ,24 , pp. 231–240.

Women and Dementia: Not forgotten. International Longevity Centre.

Department of Health (2010). Nothing ventured, nothing gained: Risk guidance for people with dementia. 

Frames and counter-frames giving meaning to dementia: a framing analysis of media content.. ,74 , pp. 1274–81.

A systematic literature review of incontinence care for persons with dementia: the research evidence.. ,19 , pp. 303–12.

Agnes & Nancy (2012). Director: Anne Milne. 



Written summary


MethodPercentage contribution
Short review  ( words) 30%
Written essay  ( words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Short review %
Written essay %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.