Research Output
Growing expertise in dementia practice with Scotland’s Allied Health Professionals (AHP): Re-visiting post-graduate MSc education
  This report outlines the background and context to a co-designed and co-delivered 15 credit MSc module, entitled, ‘Developing rights-based practice for Allied Health Professionals (AHP) working with people living with dementia, their families and carers’. The creation of this learning opportunity represents one outcome of the Allied Health Professional (AHP) Strategic Alliance signed and
agreed by Alzheimer Scotland and Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh in 2015.

This module was delivered over a five-year period from 2015/16, running up to and including, 2019/20. It was originally designed to respond to an identified gap in education to enhance AHP expertise in
dementia practice, informed by the Promoting Excellence Framework (Scottish Government, 2021). More recently it has also provided a conduit through which the translation of key strategic intentions
could be achieved, as outlined in ‘Connecting People, Connecting Support: Transforming the allied health professionals’ contribution to supporting people living with dementia in Scotland, 2017-2020’
(Alzheimer Scotland 2017, 2020).

By working in partnership with higher education this innovative learning opportunity has offered an exemplar of the way in which AHP policy, framed by a rights-based approach, can connect with and
influence current and future practice. As a result, this module has:

• Educated 51 allied health practitioners, across 11 NHS/Joint Integration Boards in Scotland, 4 Scottish Councils and 1 third sector organisation
• Of these 51 AHPs, 13 were international/European Union students, extending the reach and reputation of Alzheimer Scotland as Scotland’s leading dementia charity
• Demonstrably mobilised and translated a rights-based approach with AHP practice illustrated through the collation of three case studies, representing an occupational therapy acute service, in-patient physiotherapy, and highlighting an international perspective

These outcomes inform the following recommendations for the future;
1. Advocate that the voice of lived experience is at the heart of dementia education for the allied health professionals in Scotland, working in partnership with the Scottish Dementia Working
Group and the National Dementia Carers Action Network.
2. Continue to share key outcomes that have arisen from this innovative third sector/Higher Education Institutions (HEI) collaborative partnership arising from the design and delivery of
M-level AHP dementia education.
3. Embed and align ambition 3 of Connecting People, Connecting Support - to promote a skilled AHP workforce in dementia care – to evolve, enhance and further widen educational opportunities
for the Allied Health Professions in Scotland. This will expand to include AHP specific continuing professional development (CPD), to extend understanding and raise awareness of the need to
embrace a rights-based approach to rehabilitation in dementia practice.
4. Mobilise and harness enhanced practitioner knowledge of a rights-based approach to AHP rehabilitation in dementia, to continue to grow ambition 4 of Connecting People, Connecting Support, which will generate research and integrate improvement methods in everyday AHP practice with people living with dementia, their caregivers and supporters.
5. Commission a review of the current AHP curriculum content in partnership with NHS NES, aligned to Promoting Excellence, capturing case studies from the Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions

  • Type:

    Policy Document

  • Date:

    01 September 2021

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Queen Margaret University


Maclean, F., & Hunter, E. (2021). Growing expertise in dementia practice with Scotland’s Allied Health Professionals (AHP): Re-visiting post-graduate MSc education. Alzheimer Scotland


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