A New AHP Generation: 100+ Students, Interns and Volunteers in Alzheimer Scotland

It is almost 2 years since I arrived at Alzheimer Scotland in my new role of AHP Practice Education Facilitator, a job that is centred on ensuring that AHP students reach Dementia Informed and Dementia Skilled levels of Promoting Excellence (Scottish Government 2011) through practice education opportunities in Alzheimer Scotland.

In my previous position as an art therapist, I enjoyed working in a creative environment where dreams and ideas take form and new meaning is created through working with art materials; shaping, connecting, constructing, layering (sometimes reshaping, disconnecting, deconstructing and peeling back).

I was hopeful that my new role would also allow for a creative approach and I have not been disappointed. Like in the art room, the process of building and creating an AHP practice education programme has been challenging, surprising, engaging and ultimately rewarding.

I am delighted to have been able to recently share and celebrate the work we have done to support AHP practice education in Alzheimer Scotland in the link below.


And in a nice glossy leaflet.


“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh

During the first three years of our programme, 100+ AHP students, interns and volunteers will have participated, spending time in Alzheimer Scotland services.

Across Scotland, have all been busy playing our part in ensuring placements provide a quality learning experience for students in a way that fits with university requirements and works for people living with dementia in Alzheimer Scotland services.

Partnerships with 6 Higher Education Institutions, 8 NHS Boards, NHS Education for Scotland, Scottish Dementia Working Group, Santander Universities, the respective professional bodies and PAMIS have been established and the cross-sector relationships that have developed feel key to success.


Part of my role is to pull things together to ensure that there is a coordinated and sustainable approach to maintaining Quality Standards for Practice Placements- QSPP (NES 2008) in Alzheimer Scotland. From this central hub position, it is possible to measure the impact of the programme and act to make improvements across services and we have been able to use available technology to share projects and resources. Students can access each other’s work and rather than reinventing wheels, time can be spent usefully building on what has been done already.

We have seen some fantastic projects some of which have been shared previously on this blog and we hope that as the programme progresses, these can be developed, adapted and expanded. In the New Year, we will take the opportunity focus in a little on these projects, looking more closely perhaps at the experience for all involved and of course, we will share what details we discover through social media and more formally in conference presentations and articles.

Gathering together what we have done so far to gain an overview of the progress has been wonderful but in doing so I can’t help feeling this is just the beginning. And for me, beginnings are really quite exciting….



ADR-ConvertImageAdrienne McDermid-Thomas

Alzheimer Scotland AHP Practice Education Facilitator


My role is to build on a programme of work of developing AHP student practice placements, an AHP internship programme and AHP volunteer opportunities in Alzheimer Scotland supporting the aspiration that all allied health professional students are skilled in dementia care on graduation.  I have had some really positive experiences of joint AHP working in the past and am very much looking forward to this further opportunity to work together with AHP colleagues and Alzheimer Scotland to develop ways of working which are sustainable and best suited to meeting the needs of people living with dementia and their carers and families.


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