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Alzheimer Scotland staff set to be trained in having ‘Confident Conversations’ around vital research

Alzheimer Scotland staff set to be trained in having ‘Confident Conversations’ around vital research

23rd September 2022

The NHS Research Scotland Neuroprogressive and Dementia Network (NRS NDN) is working closely with Alzheimer Scotland on a new initiative that will help its 400 staff have ‘Confident Conversations’ about vital research with the people they support

While plans are still at an early stage, it is expected that staff training will take place at 23 sites across the country with 100 Post Diagnostic Support (PDS) Link Workers, 40 Dementia Advisors and more all set to benefit from a consistent approach that is aimed at engendering better two-way communication and building confidence when discussing research.

Confident Conversations training, set to commence with a trial in November, is planned to comprise of two parts delivered in one day – the first part taking place in the morning with the aim to develop a comprehensive skillset for all staff, and a second part in the afternoon focussing on an enhanced level of practice for Link Workers and Dementia Advisors.

An accompanying information pack will further strengthen the practical training for all. This will include:

  • an Alzheimer Scotland Confident Conversations workbook containing all the information from Part 1 with space to make notes as well as links to further training videos and contact details for Join Dementia Research (JDR) and the NDN
  • JDR leaflets
  • NDN leaflets
  • signposting to a workbook about research in care homes from the IRISS charity

Dr Tom Russ, Clinical Lead for NRS NDN said: “Alzheimer Scotland have been very enthusiastic about the prospect of this initiative being rolled out. Indeed, we were invited to speak about it at their annual conference earlier this month, so a really encouraging start for all involved.

“The training will cover a range of areas – from the different models of patient and public involvement, including why it is important to involve people in research, to sharing experiences of what strategies have been successful when introducing a new topic, and role play on how to talk to people about research.

“The workbook will meanwhile include QR codes linking to a virtual tour of a clinical research facility and other online aids, with further plans to host all content on a Confident Conversations webpage.

“With a draft of the workbook in place at the Alzheimer Scotland conference, the rest of September has been dedicated to consultation to ensure we’re getting our approach right.

“We are then running two sessions in November as a trial and modifying accordingly, followed by a webinar for all staff.”

Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive, Henry Simmons said: “This is a truly exciting, forward-thinking initiative and we are delighted to work in partnership with NDN. Confident Conversations has many possibilities and we’re only just starting to explore the full potential of it.

“Ultimately, we hope the outcome will be a higher number of people with or without a dementia diagnosis participating in dementia research as a result of a conversation with a highly skilled member of staff. There is also scope for wider adoption of this training for a broader roll out, which we hope will lead to even greater participation.”


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