Behavioural change in primary care professionals undertaking online education in dementia care in general practice
A challenge facing general practice is improving the diagnosis, management and care of people with dementia. Training and education for primary care professionals about knowledge and attitudes about dementia is needed. Online resources can provide educational opportunities for health professionals with limited access to dementia training. An online educational resource (four modules over 3 h) was designed to assist primary care practitioners to develop a systematic framework to identify, diagnose and manage patients with dementia within their practice. Interviews and questionnaires (knowledge, attitudes, confidence and behavioural intentions), with practice nurses and international medical graduates working in general practices, were used to evaluate the resource. Participants’ knowledge, confidence and attitudes about dementia increased after completing the modules. Participants had strong intentions to apply a systematic framework to identify and manage dementia. In post-module interviews, participants reported increased awareness, knowledge and confidence in assessing and managing people with dementia, corroborating the questionnaire results. This project has demonstrated some early changes in clinical behaviour around dementia care in general practice. Promoting the value of applying a systematic framework with colleagues and co-workers could increase awareness of, and participation in, dementia assessment by other primary care professionals within general practices.