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A shifting profile of students in a university-based distance dementia education program: implications for policy and practice

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:07 authored by Lynette GoldbergLynette Goldberg, Sun JangSun Jang, Hoang NguyenHoang Nguyen, Maree Farrow, Aidan BindoffAidan Bindoff, Alison CantyAlison Canty

Objective. The online Bachelor of Dementia Care began in 2012 to support aged care workers without a tertiary education or vocational qualification. This paper documents the shifting student profile, reasons for study, and contribution of the program to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Methods. 471 commencing students completed a 16-item online survey in 2017. Results. The student profile included younger (<41 years) and older (>80 years) people; almost 41% had tertiary level qualifications, and 56% were employed in professional positions, including registered nurse, general practitioner and allied health professional. Professional and practice development was the primary reason for study; significantly so for younger (<41 years) paiiicipants in aged and dementia care (02 = 18.15, df= 5, p = 0.003) and for those with previous university experience (02 = 22.17, df= 4,p = 0.001). Older (2:61 years) participants enrolled to gain greater knowledge about dementia (02 = 17.60, elf= 4,p = 0.002).

Conclusion. Understanding the diverse profile of these commencing students and their shared reasons for study affirmed the contribution of programs, such as the Diploma/Bachelor of Dementia Care, as key education providers in dementia care. Work now focuses on developing partnerships with aged care organisations to support staff in pursuing increased competency in dementia care, and working collaboratively with government agencies and aged care providers to demonstrate how such qualifications can contribute to effective, person-centred care and clear career pathways for staff at all levels in aged care.


Publication title

Australasian Journal of Ageing




Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia

Publication status

  • Accepted

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Treatment of human diseases and conditions

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