Exploring the role of technology-enabled dementia education and support for health and social care practitioners in rural Scotland

  • Kevin Muirhead

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by UHI)


Dementia education and training for the health and social care workforce is necessary to ensure that practitioners have the confidence and competence to provide quality care for people living with dementia and their families. The need for dementia education may be greater among rural health and social care practitioners (HSCP) who experience access barriers to traditional education. The aim of this study was to explore if technology has a role in supporting the dementia education and training needs of HSCP in rural Scotland.
A literature review was conducted which provided support for the effectiveness of technology-enabled dementia education (TEDE). A convergent parallel mixed methods study was then conducted to: (1) quantitatively establish dementia training needs and acceptance of technology for dementia education among rural HSCP from acute, primary, and social care settings (N=47); and (2) qualitatively explore the experience and perceptions of multiple stakeholders in dementia care and education from rural areas (N=17) to understand the dementia education needs of rural HSCP and relevance of technology for dementia education. Quantitative and qualitative findings were combined in a meta inference. The quality, relevance, and ethical conduct of the research were strengthened from the contribution of public involvement in a project advisory group.
Quantitative results suggested that rural HSCP are accepting of technology for dementia education with training needs greatest among acute care practitioners. Qualitative results were categorised in five themes which described the culture and systems of rural dementia care, change drivers and the value of TEDE, readiness for TEDE, collaborative conditions to enhance TEDE, and pedagogical methods required to ‘get TEDE right’ for rural HSCP. The combined findings resulted in practical recommendations for policy change and for the design and delivery of TEDE for rural HSCP.
Date of Award18 Apr 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
SponsorsESF studentship
SupervisorLeah Macaden (Supervisor) & Keith Smyth (Supervisor)

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