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Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D. joined Skillnet Ireland, Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet (LHP Skillnet) and people living with dementia to launch the Certificate in Dementia Care QQI Supplemental Award (Level 5) Programme.

The programme, the first of its kind in Ireland that is Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accredited at level 5, is designed for graduates of QQI Level 5 healthcare or above who wish to enhance their skills and deepen their understanding of the specialist area of dementia care.

An industry-led programme designed specifically for dementia care

As the population ages and the number of people living with dementia increases, the provision of care is becoming an increasingly acute challenge. The creation of this programme was industry-led through LHP Skillnet and it has been specifically developed to support businesses within the private healthcare sector to address a skills gap in a growing area of care, so people living with dementia across all settings will benefit from enhanced care.

Designed to upskill care workers across all health settings, the content was created both with industry and with people living with dementia at its core, whose experiences and stories are showcased in the training. It will be delivered by nurses and tutors experienced in the field of dementia care.

At the launch event, Minister Harris said, “There are over 64,000 people in Ireland currently living with dementia, with the numbers predicted to rise to 150,000 by 2050. The rapid ageing of the population is a challenge faced by many countries, and Ireland is no exception. As the population ages, the number of people affected by dementia will increase significantly.

This upskilling programme is accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, which is the agency responsible for the quality, integrity and reputation of Ireland’s further and higher education system. It will be led by those with experience of dementia care. I believe this could be an invaluable tool in assisting healthcare workers across the healthcare family.”

Tracey Donnery, Executive Director Skillnet Ireland said, “LHP Skillnet has an excellent track record in engaging with businesses within the healthcare sector to identify their business needs and develop new accredited programmes to meet their talent and skills challenges.

This new Certificate in Dementia Care offers a further learning pathway in dementia care for healthcare assistants and is an excellent solution to help this sector better support people living with dementia and their families, across acute, residential, nursing home and home care settings.”

Carmel Kelly, Network Manager at LHP Skillnet said “We are delighted to have developed the very first QQI level 5 accredited programme of this kind in Ireland and one that offers educational opportunities in dementia care for healthcare assistants and other healthcare professionals. The experiences of people living with dementia are a key part of the programme, resulting in a more holistic understanding of the lived experience for those attending the programme. We are confident it will equip care workers with the key knowledge, skills and competencies to enable them to support people with a diagnosis of dementia and their families.”

Speaking at the launch, Programme Leader and Tutor Dr Michael Brennan said “Involving people with real-life personal experiences of dementia and healthcare settings was extremely important in the programme development. That insight is a cornerstone of this innovative programme and can help transform the type of care currently provided to this growing group. Today’s launch represents an opportunity to reflect on the progress made so far, but we owe it to the many people in Ireland living with dementia to increasingly develop and improve care standards.”

Learn more

The first eight-week programme takes place in March 2022 and is fully booked. The next intake for the Dementia Care Programme in April 2022 is open both to members and non-members of LHP Skillnet.

For more information, visit and watch the short video below to learn more about the impact of this innovative programme.

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