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Dementia care and support learning and development implementation toolkit

A simple, practical guide that organisations and partnerships can use to put the Good Work framework into practice.

Who should use the toolkit

The toolkit is designed to help:

  • leaders, managers and workforce leaders across health and social care come together (including with other interested parties) to lead local dementia learning and development approaches
  • leaders of further education and the private and third sectors who are looking to improve learning and development in dementia care
  • local areas working to develop dementia-friendly communities.

The Good Work framework

We’ve developed the toolkit in partnership with stakeholders across Wales. It builds on and can be used alongside:

The Good Work framework:

  • supports the development of effective dementia learning and development approaches
  • makes sure dementia care and support is in line with ‘what matters most’ to people with dementia
  • is based on theories of positive psychology.

These theories:

  • focus on meaning and purpose
  • build on strengths rather than address deficits
  • use positive strength-based language that’s central to a strength-based approach.

People are at the heart of the Good Work framework. This means their independence and well-being is vital to the way we work. It also means we should recognise people depend on each other or ‘interdependent’. For example, with family, friends, paid care staff and local communities.

Research shows a positive and enriched learning environment leads to more person-centred care.

You should work within the Senses framework so that people who use care and support, carers and staff all experience a sense of security, continuity, belonging, purpose, achievement and significance.

The Good Work Framework is underpinned by:

  • ethics – being values based to get to the heart of ‘what matters’ to each person, so practice is compassionate
  • excellence – being technically competent, so practice is competent
  • engagement – being personally engaging and aware of context, so practice is wise.

The Good Work framework identifies learning and development topics and learning outcomes for three groups:

  • informed people – who understand what dementia is, how it affects a person and how to communicate effectively
  • skilled people – who are informed and have more detailed or comprehensive knowledge about dementia, according to their experience, role, interests and needs
  • influencers – who are informed and possibly skilled people who have a management, leadership and/or strategic role (this can apply to anyone who can inspire, lead or influence others).

All Wales Dementia Pathway of Standards Workstream 5: workforce development and measurement

You should use the All Wales Dementia Care Pathway of Standards Workstream 5: Workforce Development and Measurement alongside this toolkit.

It sets out a range of self-assessment questions to help regional workstreams prepare for the All Wales Dementia Care Pathway of Standards delivery framework (readiness and implementation programme of work).

The questions will help each workstream get ready, identify areas to focus on and make sure support is in place to meet the main requirements of the dementia pathway standards.

How the toolkit will help you

The toolkit will:

  • help you come together with other interested people to self-assess learning and development
  • help you present evidence for investing in dementia learning and development
  • help you to find what’s working well and make improvements
  • help you develop core skills based on person-centred care, for all staff who have contact with people with dementia and their families
  • help you work with others to plan and provide continuous learning and development
  • help you provide learning and development to meet the different needs of people with dementia and their families
  • provide accessible tools that you can use to put learning and development in person-centred care into practice
  • help you develop a range of learning and development methods to meet the diverse learning needs of your workforce
  • be a ‘live’ tool that can evolve alongside developments in education and training for dementia care.

What’s in the toolkit

The toolkit includes resources for people living with dementia, their families and any type of profession supporting people with dementia.

It’s most effective if it’s used by every regional partner because people with dementia need all partners to work together to provide person-centred care.

The toolkit is in two parts: five reading sections and a table with self-evaluation questions.

You can use the table to score your current situation and to plan your next actions.

Each section is a building block for effective learning and development:

  1. values and principles
  2. leadership and governance
  3. structure and planning
  4. delivery: providing learning and development in dementia care
  5. evaluating impact.

Each building block:

  • describes what good looks like
  • provides links to resources to help you put improvements in place. For example, good practice case studies, implementation tools and related evidence from a literature review carried out to support this toolkit.

You’ll find the good practice resources where they’re most relevant, but some will be relevant to more than one section.

Terms you'll find in the toolkit

Person-centred support: This approach is based on the idea of ‘personhood’ and keeping that sense of ‘personhood’ or self despite other significant changes that often lead to losses because of the impact of dementia (Kitwood, 1988).

Dawn Brooker (2006) suggests it has four elements:

  • V – an approach that values everyone
  • I – an individualised approach that recognises uniqueness
  • P – an approach that’s based on the perspective of people with dementia
  • S – a recognition that we’re social beings and that personhood is grounded in the context of relationships.

Brooker, D. (2006) Person Centred Dementia Care: Making Services Better, London: Jessica Kingley

Values-based: You work in partnership with others, empower and listen to the diverse views of others, promote rights with respect and treat others with dignity to promote other people’s well-being.

Values-based core skills: Promotes healthy attitudes and develops knowledge, empathy and understanding by listening and working in partnership with others.

Social prescription: Social prescribing enhances people’s ability to make positive changes in their lives, linking people to activities, voluntary and community groups, and public services (Thomas et al, 2019).

Diversity: Promotes a broad spectrum of differences in a positive manner. Diverse cultures aim to recognise and celebrate differences within an inclusive culture (Bond-Taylor and Davies, 2020).

Intersectionality: A lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s how different needs or social characteristics intersect or overlap to influence each other to decide your position in society and create multiple oppression (Crenshaw, 1989).

Co-production: A relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and provide support together, recognising that both have vital contributions to make to improve the quality of life for people and communities.

How to use the toolkit

You can also produce an overall rating of gold, silver, bronze or not started for each building block. These will help you evaluate your progress over time.

The self-evaluation questions:

  • mirror the toolkit’s five sections
  • help you and your colleagues better understand the approach to dementia learning and development in your organisation, partnership or local area
  • help you assess how close your organisation, partnership or local area is to what good looks like
  • help you identify improvements.

You can use the self-evaluation questions table flexibly.

For example:

  • you can use it yourself. Answer each question and give yourself a score. Any score less than 3 is a potential improvement area. Decide what to do in each case where your score is below 3. Ask yourself “can I action the improvement myself or do I need help?”
  • a group of managers and other interested people in your organisation can use it. Each person should answer each question and give their personal score. The group should come together to discuss and agree a shared score for each question. If a score is below 3, the managers should plan improvements
  • partners in a local area can use it. Each person should answer each question and give their personal score. Partners should come together to discuss and agree a shared score for each question. If a score is below 3, partners should plan improvements

You can also use the self-evaluation table to award an overall rating for each building block by calculating an average score for each block:

  • average scores of 2.5 or above = gold
  • average scores of 1.5 to 2.4 = silver
  • average scores of 0.5 to 1.4 = bronze
  • average scores below 0.5 = not ready

The scoring scale

Read each question. Think about the evidence you’ll need to consider before answering.

If you feel ‘what good looks like’ in the question is:

  • fully in place and continuously improving – score it 3 (gold)
  • often, but not always, in place or could be improved – score it 2 (silver)
  • only in place sometimes, there’s still a lot to do and significant improvement is possible – score it 1 (bronze)
  • not yet in place or it’s too soon to assess it – score it 0 (not ready).

You might find it helpful to add the evidence to the table to track progress.


How you use the toolkit will be proportionate and this will be affected by the size and context of the organisation involved.

For example, small organisations will use it differently to large organisations or a regional partnership.

First published: 15 June 2022
Last updated: 18 October 2022
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