The purpose of the reception was to address the global issue of long-term conditions such as dementia. The number of people with dementia is expected to double in the next 30 years and the costs of dealing with it is likely to treble to over £50 billion.
Delegates from care homes and dementia groups attended the event on Thursday December 3, including: Public Health England, Higher Education Academy, Global Health Alliance and NHS employees to hear presentations from the University of Derby on their innovative online learning Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) on dementia and discuss innovative solutions to dealing with it.
It comes after a recent successful Dementia Awareness Day organised by Pauline Latham at the Strutts Centre, in Belper.
Speaking at Westminster, the Dean of College of Health and Social Care, Dr Paula Crick, addressed the event on a future where health services could support people with dementia in their own home.
Earlier this year, the University launched their MOOC, in order to enable students, carers and people working in the area of dementia to understand and be able to treat it.
David Robertshaw, Academic Lead for Health and Social Care at University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL), spoke of the success of the online learning programme in providing a free learning model on a health issue of global importance.
He also described some of the content produced by the students including a heartfelt poem from a student caring for his mother. The idea behind MOOCs is that students will share their knowledge online with each other on the course and in person with friends, family and in the workplace.
Julie Stone, Director of UDOL, discussed the challenges of addressing dementia, referring to the Prime Minister’s desire for England to be the best country in the world for dementia care by 2020. Julie outlined how the 1.6 million NHS staff, will all require training on dementia, related to their role, in order to meet the Dementia Challenge.
Julie added: “The reception at the Houses of Parliament was a great way for us to share best practice of our MOOCs with delegates in the health and social care sector. Our approach has been to scale up the education of dementia through our MOOCs, which has attracted more than 3,000 learners from Australia and the Philippines to Aruba and here in the UK.
“Location was previously limiting the reach of dementia education. MOOC’s provide the ability to export higher education with 40% of our students overseas.
“With our dementia MOOC returning next year in March, we hope that we can play our part in helping to achieve David Cameron’s ambitious target.
“We were delighted with the turnout at the reception, this was the first event of its kind and it was a great way for us to meet people from different sectors all with the same goal.”
An estimated 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, and 670,000 people act as primary carers for them. Numbers are expected to double within 30 years as the population ages. Dementia costs the UK economy an estimated £26.3bn or £32,250 per person per year, comprising social care, health care and unpaid carers. While there is no cure for many forms of dementia, it is possible to improve lives and save costs.
Speaking after the event, Pauline added: “The work the University of Derby is doing on dementia is world-class and I am really happy to have been able to host them in Parliament. It was a great event allowing people to share ideas and make connections to work together. Dementia is a global issue and also a deeply personal one which I will continue to focus on as an MP. I am very proud to have the University in my constituency leading the way.”