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A research evaluation of
an interactive training experience:
The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®)

A research evaluation of
an interactive training experience:
The Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®)

A research evaluation of an interactive training experience:
The Virtual Dementia Tour ® (VDT®)

Nursing Midwifery Planning and Development
Health Service Executive
An Clochar
College Street
Ballyshannon
County Donegal

Ulster University Research Team
Dr Paul Slater, FHEA, PhD, MSc, BSc Hons
Dr Felicity Hasson, PhD, FHEA, MSc, Pg. Dip, BA Hons
Dr Patricia Gillen, FHEA, PhD, PGD, MSc, BSc Hons

ISBN 978-1-78602-055-0

September 2017

Table of contents
Acknowledgements
Foreword

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5

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6

List of abbreviations

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Membership of steering group
Executive summary
Introduction

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8

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9

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Research aim and objectives

13

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14

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21

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24

Design and methods

Discussion

...........................................................................................................................................................................

Conclusion

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Recommendations for action
References

10

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Overview of the literature

Evaluation findings

8

35
38

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39

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41

Appendices
Appendix 1: Interview schedule

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Appendix 2: Demographic questionnaire for carers

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49
50

Appendix 3: Demographic questionnaire for health and
social care professionals

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Appendix 4: Ethical approval

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Appendix 5: Letter of invitation

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Appendix 6: Participant information sheet
Appendix 7: Caregiver support pack

52
55

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56

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58

Appendix 8: Health and social care staff support pack
Appendix 9: Consent form

51

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59

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60

Box
Box 1: Key issues in the delivery of effective
Dementia care training

14

Box 2: Global deterioration scale for assessment
of primary degenerative Dementia (GDS)

18

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Table
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of participants

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24

Figures
Figure 1: Step model of inductive category development

22

Figure 2: Age group of participants

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24

Figure 3: Discipline of participants

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25

............................

Figure 4: Time spent caring for people with Dementia

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25

Figure 5: Importance of Dementia knowledge in job

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26

Figure 6: Pathways for change

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36

Acknowledgements
It is important to acknowledge the family members and carers of people living with
Dementia, clinical and non-clinical staff and colleagues from the acute, community and
voluntary healthcare sectors and academic colleagues and other agencies, who gave so
generously of their time to participate in this research by sharing their experiences in
interviews. This research evaluation report was commissioned by the Nursing Midwifery
Planning and Development Unit - Health Service Executive, North West.

–7–

Foreword
In Ireland, the increase in the number of people living with
Dementia in the coming years will be significant and could
be as high as 132,000 people by 2041, almost three times the
current estimate of 47,000 in 2011. (Pierce et al. 2014). These are
daunting statistics for professionals working in the Health Service
Executive and indeed as individuals we all will know someone
with a diagnosis of Dementia, or know someone who is involved
in the caring and supporting role. This may be in our professional
role or in our own day to day lives.
One of the pertinent messages within The Irish National
Dementia Strategy (Department of Health, 2014) informs us that
with the right supports a person with Dementia can live well.
The provision of education and training opportunities for health
care professionals and also for carers and people with Dementia
is part of our commitment in the HSE to enable us to meet the
needs of people living with Dementia in a person centred and
compassionate way.
Currently, in the North West there is a wide range of programmes
available at different learning levels which may be accessed by
health care staff and also by individuals who are caring for people
in the community. We are always exploring new and innovative
ways of facilitating education around this important area of
practice.
The Nursing Midwifery Planning and Development Unit (NMPD),
Directors of Nursing/Service Managers and their Teams in the
North West have been collaborating on this subject. Also more
recently we have been working with our nursing colleagues in the
Western Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland to explore
how we can work in partnership to build capacity in relation
to skills and knowledge around Dementia care. Co-operation
and Working Together (CAWT) supported The Virtual Dementia
Tour® (VDT®) training experience in Donegal for two days in the
autumn of 2016. This unique interactive learning experience which
takes place in a mobile simulated training unit was an exciting
opportunity for us. It aimed at supporting those caring for people
with Dementia to have greater understanding and empathy in
their caring role of what it is like to live with a Dementia diagnosis.

–8–

The National Dementia Campaign asks us to ‘Understand
Together’ - this phrase has more meaning for us now after
completing the VDT® training. Seventy-two people completed
the training including health service staff from across all
divisions and professional disciplines in the North West and also
importantly, family carers and community carers. Participant
feedback was positive. In addition, this formal research
evaluation commissioned by the NMPD and undertaken by the
Ulster University will provide research evidence to ascertain the
efficacy of this type of approach around training and education
in Dementia are.
It gives me great pleasure to present this evaluation of the VDT®, I
most sincerely wish to thank everyone who attended the training
and provided feedback. Also, I would like to thank the Donegal
Dementia Group who contributed to the organisation of the
training event.
Consideration around the findings of this research evaluation
will provide the next steps in relation to supporting health
care teams and carers to provide person centred and evidence
informed care to people with a Dementia diagnosis.

Ms Anne Gallen
Director NMPD
HSE North West

–9–


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