Course at a glance


This course is intended for those interested in or already caring for people suffering from Dementia in either a domestic or professional environment. The major aspects of the disease, Dementia, including the biological causes of the disease, the signs and symptoms, disease progression, relative mediation, palliative care and recognised therapies, including pharmaceutical drug therapy in primary and secondary care will be explored.

There is a specialist unit, Understanding Alzheimer’s disease which will provide students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the most common form of Dementia.

There will also be study of a wide range of factors which influence service provision and legislation, including diagnosis and treatment, social inclusion, discrimination and care standards. The services and agencies discussed will be UK based.

The course is divided into 10 units of study, you can read a detailed summary of each unit in the ‘Content’ section at the bottom of the page.

To help spread the cost of the course, you can opt to spread the course fees over an interest and credit check free instalment plan. To do this, select the option for instalment payment from the drop-down box above the ‘Enrol’ button.

Dementia Care Short Course Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enter into our Dementia Care Short Course Diploma (Level 3).

Short Course Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

200 hours in total. Or 20 hours per week over 10 weeks.


Written assessment at the end of each unit of study.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.


Dementia Care Short Course Diploma Content

Unit 1: Anatomy and Physiology

In any form of dementia there are physical changes within the brain, and it is thought that these degenerative changes lead to the progressive deterioration in loss of cognitive function throughout the body. The changes are complex and difficult to diagnose and have implications for other body systems. This unit explores the biological causes of Dementia by looking at the anatomy of the brain and the central Nervous system, CNS and the associated peripheral nervous system, PNS, in order to gain an overview and function of the different parts. The physiological overview of disease progression is detailed to identify patterns and symptoms of Dementia. How messages are passed throughout the body in response to changes in the internal and external environment, and how communication is thus affected in Dementia is addressed. The most common types of diseases within the Dementia group e.g. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are explored briefly.

Unit 2: Understanding Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for many different types of illnesses affecting the brain. Plato linked it to old age. It was considered a mental illness which are not always permanently progressive and some reversible, for example brain injury or symptoms arising after a Stroke, and so some physical illnesses may be treatable. The way the various types and each types affects people is diverse. It affects coordination, emotions, characters, behaviours, personality, loss of memory and therefore ability to do everyday functions. It also has a huge impact on carers and family. This unit covers it various forms, history, signs and symptoms – including the 3 Stages, early onset, ethical considerations and family inclusion and support. As people live longer and there is already a crisis in terms of care, the future of Dementia is discussed. It is important that the Dementia patient is at the centre of their care plan, and how to do this is explored.

Unit 3: Specialist unit: Understanding Alzheimer’s

Although Alzheimer’s is often the focus of media attention and the perception is that it is a natural condition of ageing, this is not the case and the perceived rise in those suffering from Alzheimer’s can be directly related to increase in life expectancy, better healthcare and more awareness of the symptoms of the disease. Genetics, environmental factors, alcohol and smoking also impact on the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia and probably the most well-known form of the disease, this unit will provide a detailed understanding of what Alzheimer’s disease is, what the symptoms are, how to care for people who suffer from the condition. Although there is no recognized treatment, medications and non-medicines to alleviate some symptoms and contain some forms of Dementia are covered.

Unit 4: The role of a care worker

There is a range of services and people who look after Dementia patients from Doctors to carers to family. Those suffering from dementia are unlikely to have an early diagnosis and are normally cared for at home during the early stages of the disease. Informal care by relatives, family members and those in support networks is discussed. The burden of care such as who will look after the finances, care and assets, support and services available for carers e.g. carer allowance, and respite issues are covered. This unit will look at what it is to be a care provider for someone suffering from Dementia. It will look at the role of a care worker in both the Primary and Secondary care environments, including the person specification for roles, how care needs are met and issues such as training and understanding of dementia. The unit will explore professionalism, codes of practice, organising a care plan and the principles of care.

Unit 5: Good Practice

Good practice should be common place, yet there have been failures in the way care is offered and in recognising if a patient is suffering abuse. Actual case studies are included to provide training in identifying good and poor practice. It is essential that independence and quality of life is maintained and how to do this in e.g. a care home is shown. The person centred care approach and how to form a care plan is discussed. Current protocols and guidelines, especially to limit bad practice and abuse is explored. Integrated within this will be a discussion of current relevant legislation and the role of voluntary organizations in promotion of good practice.

Unit 6: Interpretation and Communication

Effective communication is to key to any successful relationship. As dementia progresses and loss of cognitive and physical functioning is lost, care needs change. Communication starts to be reduced, even lost so new forms of communicating and patience in understanding these new “languages” is essential. Associated with these changes are issues of frustration at memory and function loss, personality changes or perhaps aggressive behaviour and a range of additional possible mental health problems which include depression. Techniques and methods of communicating with Dementia sufferers verbally and using alternative mediums such as pictures books will be practiced through real scenarios. Withdrawal and non-communication are addressed through learning new skills such as repetition, identifying the use of body languages and eyes, especially for Dysphasia sufferers (loss of speech e.g. through a stroke).

Unit 7: Practical Help

Memory loss can cause a loss in failure of a person being unable to take care of themself. Much of the care needs of dementia patients/clients are physical needs such as being reminded and helped with bathing, dressing and even eating to stay healthy or stopped from over-eating when they forget they already ate. The required assistance includes helping with personal hygiene, dressing, grooming and toilet needs, nutritional requirements, exercise and how to deal with sleep disturbance. Essential is helping with the maintenance of dignity, retention of patient/client control through empowerment and respect of individual’s rights. Activities will help the learner reflect on the types of challenges that might be faced, for example lack of appropriate equipment, staff shortages in residential settings and the reductionist approach within secondary care.

Unit 8: Managing challenging behaviour

The abuse of people with Dementia and the carer looking after a person who is difficult due to their disease is topical. Dementia can present certain behaviours in patients and how to effectively manage challenging behaviour such as aggression, wandering, accusations, repetition, shouting and depression are covered in depth. It is necessary to learn to understand the behaviours in order to support the patient e.g. using tried and tested techniques such as methods of distraction, reassurance and repetition or even walking away. Risk assessment and risk management of people suffering from dementia and carers involves care planning and continuous reassessment of needs being discussed. Both parties need to be supported, cared for and any abuse prevented.

Unit 9: Palliative care

No matter what the illness and its difficulty, dignity in death is as important as respect in life. Dementia once diagnosed is progressive and as sufferers lose functionality they become more prone to serious illnesses such as pneumonia. Ultimately the condition will prove fatal to most sufferers as their ability to deal with serious infections and changing physical abilities diminishes. Care needs to be given to the patient, but thought must be given to all those affected, spouses, family and friends. The issues surrounding anticipatory grief for families of sufferers during this period of the disease is briefly addressed through case studies. A basic knowledge of what palliative care is and why dementia sufferers could require it is included. The issues that are covered include death at home and Hospice care. How to provide comfort dignity and empathy is discussed. The grieving process and effect on the family is addressed. Clear guidelines and protocols for managing death in a care context and providing dignity in palliative care exist, and these are discussed.

Unit 10: Medication & Treatment

Dementia is essential caused by the death of Brain and Nerve cells. Initially dementia can be managed by a variety of medication and therapies that reduce such damage. As understanding of the condition improves and new medications are developed this management has greater efficacy and effectiveness. However each person is affected in a unique way and so no ‘one size fits all’ approach will work. This unit will look at the pharmacology related to the treatment and management of dementia and the issues with non-compliance in patients. The potential medical procedures, common complications, cost and future treatments of Dementia will be explored. The unit will conclude with a brief summary of the Dementia Care course.


This Dementia Care Short Course Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.