Transfer and implementation of knowledge and attitude – a particular challenge for caregivers in dementia care

Claudia Zemlin


In order to ensure quality of life for people suffering from dementia, caregivers need to have both a suitable attitude to their clients as well as the corresponding expertise in caring for them. It is important to note that knowledge should be communicated simply and practically, because caregivers often have little prior knowledge and bring with them past learning barriers.

What is the best method of educating and training caregivers in dementia care? The literature on approaches to adult education does not provide a clear picture which approach is most effective.

This article focuses on Bandura's Social Learning Theory, or learning by observation, as a fruitful approach to educate and train care professionals working in care homes – an important environment for clients with dementia because the number of those affected continues to rise in care homes. Based on the analysis of this particular group of caregivers, I argue that this model has considerable advantages in spite of its criticized behaviorist roots. The suitability of the model, which is comparable with that in the UK, is also discussed in the light of experiences gained in the Vitanas Company, a private institution of care homes in Germany. Two promising field methods are presented: "Humanitude" by Gineste and Marescotti and "Marte Meo" by Aarts; both are based on the approach of observational learning as well as relevant results from neurobiology.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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