Connecting people, connecting support – Evidence for Action

Alzheimer Scotland was commissioned by Scottish Government to develop an evidence based policy on the AHP contribution to the key messages in Scotlands Dementia Strategy including the contribution to post diagnostic support, integrated community support and an acute hospital setting. The AHP policy will be called “Connecting people, connecting support” and will be published this summer. We have spent the last two years researching and information gathering and all evidence can be viewed at In this week blogs we are sharing an evaluation on the impact of the leadership role of an AHP dementia consultant by Gordon & Griesbach (2015)

What is the impact of the Allied Health Professional Dementia Consultants in Scotland?

The purpose of the evaluation was to identify the Consultant’s impact – actual or likely – on the organisations in which they work, on Allied Health Professionals working across Scotland, and on people living with dementia. As well as aiming to identify impact, the evaluation was to uncover views on what has worked well and less well, and why.

The evaluation was outcome-focused [i.e. focused on what the Consultants had achieved] and theory-driven [how the Consultants achieved these outcomes]. A logic model was developed in advance, and the short-term outcomes set out in the logic model provided a framework for the evaluation. The logic model indicates that the vision is for a visible, empowered and skilled AHP workforce providing timely, high quality care and support; and integration of AHPs in systemic and sustained commitments to dementia care and support.

Evaluation methods included: depth interviews with the Consultants; interviews with key national and local stakeholders; a survey of AHPs across Scotland; and interviews with a sample of the survey respondents. The whole report can be sourced here with and an executive summary is available here however here are five key findings.

Five Key Findings

  1. Leadership to championing change

There was consensus among national and local stakeholders that the Consultants individually and collectively had provided effective leadership in their areas of influence. This leadership role provided a platform to progress work and to lead change. It was important to acknowledge the AHP leadership role took place within a broader multi-disciplinary and/or multi-agency approach and there was agreement that the AHP consultants’ leadership complemented that of the dementia nurse consultants.

  1. Collective Collaboration

The Alzheimer Scotland AHP Expert Group comprising representatives of the AHP ‘community’ from local authorities, NHS boards and professional bodies, was considered to be an important group. Through its involvement, not only had the strategic profile of AHPs been [further] promoted, but greater strategic buy-in was also believed to have been achieved across Scotland. 

  1. Partnership Working

Evaluation participants highlighted evidence of increased joint working between AHPs and Link Workers, and of strengthening relationships between the third sector and the universities involved in AHP education.

‘I think also by bringing all the different AHPs together XXX [Consultant] helped increase the knowledge of the other AHPs’ role within dementia and how we can refer it into different services and what’s available for different people’. [AHP]

Extract from page 27

  1. AHP’s who we are and how we can help

There was also evidence that the Consultants had played a role in bringing about a deeper understanding – within services and within AHPs themselves – of how AHPs can contribute to the care and support of people living with dementia by getting involved at an earlier stage in a person’s care. The responses below are illustrative of the changes that individual AHPs say have happened because of their contact with the AHP consultants.

‘They have helped me to focus on the priorities for AHPs in dementia care and take these forward.’

‘It has encouraged me to make dementia at the forefront of my thinking and to re-evaluate my practice.’

  1. A Skilled AHP workforce

The consultants considered that their various contributions to training and up-skilling of other AHPs were among their greatest and most sustainable impacts. This included training and up-skilling the current AHP workforce contributing to the delivery of the Promoting Excellence framework for health and social services staff, development of student placements and internships within Alzheimer Scotland and the facilitation of networks and forums for AHPs to share experiences and good practice with each other.

We will incorporate the key findings from this evaluation in “Connecting people, connecting support” to support the vision for a visible, empowered and skilled AHP workforce providing timely, high quality care and support, knowing the enablers to make the vision a reality will depend on multi-disciplinary and partnership working, integrating promoting excellence framework in practice and supporting a “collective collaboration” of AHPs in Scotland who we now call the Alzheimer Scotland AHP Dementia Forum.

You can follow this new group at #ConnectingPeople and #AHPDementia. Thank you for reading this blog post and welcome any comments.

Elaine, Jenny, Christine & Sandra in 2014



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