Development of clinical and inter-personal skills to support people living with dementia

There is a lack of understanding on how paramedic students develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes to support people living with dementia and their families. This original qualitative study applied focus groups to explore paramedic students' perspectives. First and third year paramedic students were recruited from two ambulance service providers in the South of England. Data were collected during January and February 2017 and three themes emerged: 1) challenges of communication 2) students' negative emotional response, and 3) lack of social care and pathways. Paramedic students did not discuss person-centred approaches to support people with dementia; however they all acknowledge the impact of dementia as unique to each person, their family and situation. Undergraduate paramedic education needs to support the development of students' communication and interpersonal skills. Both university lecturers and placement educators need to provide consistent, clear, detailed information to enable students to support and care for people with dementia and their families.

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