Rising dementia prevalence rates, combined with the policy objectives of integrated care in the community, means that general practitioners (GPs) are playing an increasing and pivotal role in dementia care. However, GPs are challenged by dementia care and have identified it as an area of learning need. We describe the development, roll-out and evaluation of peer-facilitated workshops for GPs, as part of a national programme to support GPs in their delivery of dementia care.
Informed by a triangulated educational needs analysis, small-group case-based workshops were designed. Five GPs were trained as facilitators and delivered workshops in GP practices within their own locality. A mixed-methods evaluation was undertaken, incorporating participant completion of post-workshop questionnaires along with the collection and analysis of qualitative data obtained from a focus group with workshop facilitators.
104 GPs attended 39 workshops (median attendance number 3, range 2-9). The majority of participants reported an improvement in their knowledge and confidence in dementia care. In particular, participants felt that workshop content was relevant and they liked peer-facilitation within their own practices. Facilitators emphasised the importance of skilful facilitation of sensitive topics and described the tension between being regarded as a facilitator and a subject expert.
The findings of this study indicate that practice-based, peer-facilitated, small-group workshops improve self-reported knowledge and confidence in dementia care and are well-received by GPs. Findings further suggest that similar educational approaches may be effective in supporting GPs in other areas of complex chronic care in general practice.