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RCN Leadership

Transforming dementia care in care homes

An RCN practice development programme

Currently over 280,000 people living with dementia reside in care homes in the UK.

For nursing staff working in adult social care, continuing professional development needs are recognised but there are challenges for care home nurses in being able to access learning opportunities.
In 2016/2017 the RCN ran a pilot programme intended to improve the care of people living with dementia in care home (with nursing) settings. This programme, which implemented the dementia SPACE principles (see box, right), provides a supported practice development methodology which benchmarked services, identified gaps in service provision and action planned to bridge the deficit.

Following the highly successful evaluation, the RCN plans to run this programme as part of its professional services offer, commencing in 2019.

SPACE principles

SPACE is an acronym that encompasses

  • Skilled staff who are informed and have enough time to deliver care
  • Partnership working with friends and family
  • Assessment and early identification of dementia
  • Care plans that are person centred and individualised
  • Environments that are dementia friendly

Programme delivery

The 12 month programme will involve attendance at three face-to-face days based at RCN HQ, supplemented with phone-in "surgeries". Each day will be run by an expert facilitator, with experience of the care home sector, and keynote speakers.

  • Day one - launch and benchmarking
  • Day two - progress to date and further learning
  • Day three - project completion and celebration

Potential Benefits of the programme

To your organisation

  • Recruitment and retention
  • Positive reputation
  • Developing practice/using evidence to improve resident care

To your staff

  • Professional development opportunity
  • Sharing best practice

To residents

  • A positive environment

l have really enjoyed working on this project and found the experience to be motivational, supportive and beneficial for myself, my team, staff and residents.


£4,200 + VAT per care home (minimum 4 care homes)

Please note this practice development programme is not intended for individuals. Care homes who apply for the programme can nominate up to 5 staff to attend.

Find out more

Leadership Development, Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, Room 207, London, W1G 0RN

0207 647 3485