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Immersive Simulated Dementia Training

Oral Presentation 1
Dr Debbie Rainey, Dr Billie Joan Rice, Miss Alison Smart

Immersive Simulated Dementia Training

As the incidence of dementia is raising many health care professionals will care for a patient with this disease. It is imperative that these patients receive patient centred care. Care of a patient with Dementia is taught within the undergraduate healthcare curriculum. Education around Dementia is generally taught using the traditional methods of teaching in which the student is generally passive in their learning (Sharkey et al, 2019). The aim of this innovative learning experience was to build on the current curricular teaching and learning activities at QUB by introducing an immersive simulated dementia experience, with the aim to increase the students knowledge, understanding and empathy for patients living with dementia.

The experiential simulated dementia experience was designed to resemble the virtual dementia tour, developed by Beville (2002), integrating the simulation cycle of pre brief, psychological safety simulated experience and debrief (INASCAL, 2021).

The simulated experience enabled the student to fully immerse into a “close reality” experience of living with dementia. Students experienced for themselves what it may be like to live with the condition daily and the difficulties often encountered. In the simulation, students’ senses were distorted by wearing reduced vision glasses, wearing large gloves to reduce dexterity, headphones played various everyday sounds to reduce hearing and cause over stimulation of the hearing.

The students were then requested to carry out several tasks, such as tidying plates and cutlery or folding clothes to sit in chair read a magazine or lay on a bed. Which lasted for 8 -10 minutes.

The student group size was 8 -10 for the session with 2 lecturers who were trained in simulation debrief, supporting and debriefing the students. The teaching strategy was evaluated from the students experience of how they felt it impacted on their learning of providing patient centred care for patients with dementia. The students evaluated this experience as one of the best learning experiences they had ever been involved with. They realised why different people reacted in different ways to everyday experiences. They recognised that during the experience they felt disorientated, stressed and scared and could link this to what they have seen in practice. They felt that this experience would in the future make them re-think how they care for patients with dementia. Some of the students stated that this was the most powerful learning experience they have ever had and that they will never forget it.