Measuring and celebrating the effectiveness of our three-day support courses

Sharing the Independent Course Evaluation from University of Worcester

Nearly 300 people have now attended practical courses developed by Dementia Carers Count (DCC) specifically to support those caring for a family member with dementia.

Husbands, wives, partners, daughters, sons, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law and grandchildren, spanning ages from 18 to 81 years have rated the three day residential courses as five star, however DCC wanted to understand the impact of these courses and commissioned the University of Worcester to conduct a year-long evaluation.

Teresa Atkinson from the Association of Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester led this project and presented her findings to guests at Dementia Carers Count’s annual autumn event on 19th September at the Royal College of Anaesthetists in London.

 

 

The data set came from:

  • 12 DCC three-day courses from June 2018 – February 2019
  • Of 117 attendees, 85 chose to participate in the research
  • Participants could choose to complete questionnaires online or using booklets

Questions covered topics including:

Dementia Knowledge, Quality of Life, Distress, Health of Carers, Resilience

& Mental Well Being of Carers and some demographic data

Measures were taken at baseline, 3, 6 and (where possible) 12 months with telephone interviews three months after attending a course.

 

“Before I went on the course, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of treacle…now I feel completely different…better able to cope…I definitely do…I needed life skills to make it through each day”

 

The results showed that what set the high standard for education and training for family dementia carers in these three-day courses came from a unique and effective way to deliver knowledge:

 

  • three day residential
  • unique combination of skills from a strong team of practitioners
  • opportunity for carers to focus on themselves

 

and for attendees:

 

  • to feel safe and not alone
  • to meet people in similar situations
  • the opportunity to make and maintain new friends

 

Teresa’s report summarises the outcomes:

 

“Overall, both the quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrate that attending the DCC Carers Support Courses has a positive impact on carers,…almost every outcome measure and sub-score saw an improvement. The improvement was maintained to some extent over time, and although was seen to ‘tail off’ in some cases the carers generally remained in a better physical, mental and emotional situation that they were before the courses. Overall, both the quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrate that attending the DCC Carers Support Courses has a positive impact on carers.”

 

 

 

The report particularly highlights the DCC team’s ability to “make an emotionally fragile group feel safe and supported”.

The report goes on to look at the future for DCC courses including sustainability, spreading the word, perceived barriers to attendance and possible topics and groups for future courses and services; all of which will be fed in to service development alongside ongoing research led by Tracey Wilkinson, DCC Professor of Family Care in Dementia.

Teresa Atkinson will be presenting her findings again at UK Dementia Congress in Doncaster on 7th November 2019 with the opportunity for questions.

We have course places available for family and friends looking after someone with dementia: see our list of dates for three-day and one-day courses for 2019 and 2020. 

To read the full evaluation report by Worcester University please click here.