Stress and Distress in Dementia: E-Learning training for staff working in Acute Settings



The Psychology of Dementia team at NHS Education for Scotland are delighted to announce the launch of a new e-learning training programme for health and social care staff working in general hospital settings, called Stress and Distress in Dementia: Acute Resource.

This resource has been developed to support delivery of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy and 10-point National Action Plan as well as implementation of the Standards of Care for Dementia within acute settings.  It is aimed at staff working at the skilled level of dementia care – as identified within Promoting Excellence: A framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers.

The resource aims to enhance understanding of the causes of stress and distressed behaviours in dementia using a biopsychosocial model. It also explores evidence-based proactive and preventative strategies that can be used to improve the experience, care, treatment and outcomes for people with dementia, their families and carers while on the ward. It is important to acknowledge that working with distressed behaviour can, in itself, be stressful and upsetting. Therefore, the training also highlights the importance of identifying and responding to your own and other staff members’ stress and/or distress.

The training uses a variety of teaching methods, including clinical case examples, videos, and individual reflective tasks.  It also teaches practical techniques to understand and respond to stress and distress in dementia.  The e-learning modules take approximately 2 hours to complete in their entirety, although is designed to be completed as and when time allows.

Pilot Evaluation

The online training was reviewed by a multi-professional reference group and piloted by staff working in acute settings across two health board areas (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Fife).  Carers from MECOPP were also generous with their time in reviewing the training content and providing personal accounts of their experiences of dementia care within acute settings.

Overall, the training was received positively:

“A really useful learning tool for staff working in hospital settings.”

“This course covers a broad and relevant range of information.”

“The interactive tasks were engaging and thought provoking.”

“I found this training course very informative and believe it will be well received by health care staff.”

Participants also reported that the training had increased their confidence in responding to stress and distress in dementia as well as promoted the development of appropriate work related skills and knowledge in this area.

How to Access the Training

The training is available on LearnPro and can be accessed at

If you have any questions regarding the new training resource then please get in touch with Louise McIver


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