Understanding Dementia


Earn a certificate of completion

Beginner level



Approximately 2 hours to complete


100% online





About the course:

As dementia becomes increasingly common among older patients and service users, it’s important for all healthcare staff to have a basic understanding of the typical symptoms of dementia and how to meet the needs of people with dementia while providing treatment or support for other conditions.

This course provides an introduction to dementia — explaining the typical symptoms people with dementia experience and how to provide care in a way that meets their needs. It was developed by the Dementia Training Centre - a collaboration between South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

The course is aimed at clinical support workers, but also offers an accessible introduction to dementia for any other healthcare professional. It includes many case examples, self-test quizzes and reflective exercises.

This module introduces the different types of dementia, and how it’s diagnosed. At the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Identify the most common types of dementia
  • Describe dementia and its common signs and symptoms
  • Identify the risk factors likely to increase dementia occurring
  • Have an understanding of how dementia is diagnosed
  • Challenge some of the negative views of dementia that exist


This module focuses on recognising and understanding both cognitive symptoms (related to thinking and memory) and non-cognitive symptoms (behavioural and emotional) of dementia, and delirium. At the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Understand the difference between cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms of dementia
  • Identify common cognitive symptoms and the difficulties a person may experience as a result
  • Recognise non cognitive symptoms of dementia and demonstrate how they may present in patients
  • Be aware of the signs and possible causes of delirium


This module delves into how to provide care and manage challenging behaviours in a way that relates to people as whole individuals rather than focusing on the disease. At the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Describe relationship-centred care
  • Have an understanding of the Six Senses Framework
  • Recognise the triggers for distressing behaviour and how to manage them
  • Reflect on useful coping mechanisms when dealing with distressing behaviours
  • Identify the 6 C's of Dementia Care within your own practice

About the author:

Daniel Harwood

Dr Daniel Harwood

Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director

Mental Health of Older Adults and Dementia Clinical Academic Group | South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

I am a consultant psychiatrist at SLAM and Clinical Director for Psychological Medicine and Older Adult Services. My clinical work is mainly in the Lewisham Care Intervention Team; a nurse and psychology led service which works with care homes to deliver psychosocial interventions for people with behavioural and psychological symptoms and distress in the context of dementia. I also work at Croydon Memory Service. My research interests have been in suicide in older people and more recently I have been working with colleagues to try and improve the safety of prescribing for older people in our services. Prior to moving to London I worked at the Isle of Wight Memory Service working in inpatient, community, clinic, care home, and general hospital settings.

Course design:

Florin Ivan

Florin Ivan

Project Manager, Learning Hub | King's Health Partners

Cost: £0.00