MANUSCRIPT: Teaching and learning about dementia in UK medical schools: a national survey.
BACKGROUND: Dementia is an increasingly common condition and all doctors, in both primary and secondary care environments, must be prepared to competently manage patients with this condition. It is unclear whether medical education about dementia is currently fit for purpose. This project surveys and evaluates the nature of teaching and learning about dementia for medical students in the UK METHODS: Electronic questionnaire sent to UK medical schools RESULTS: 23/31 medical schools responded. All provided some dementia-specific teaching but this focussed more on knowledge and skills than behaviours and attitudes. Only 80% of schools described formal assessment of dementia-specific learning outcomes. There was a widespread failure to adequately engage the multidisciplinary team, patients and carers in teaching, presenting students with a narrow view of the condition. However, some innovative approaches were also highlighted. CONCLUSIONS: Although all schools taught about dementia, the deficiencies identified represent a failure to sufficiently equip medical students to care for patients with dementia which, given the prevalence of the condition, does not adequately prepare them for work as doctors. Recommendations for improving undergraduate medical education about dementia are outlined.