Mission Dementia – An internet based Learning Program for Police Officers in Austria
Police Officers are frequently confronted with difficult situations when meeting Persons with Dementia and/or caregivers. They often do not know how to reassure persons with Dementia when they are wandering and getting lost, or they do not know how to give instructions in such a way that they are well understood and prevent e.g. agitation. If police officers are not prepared for effective communication with people with dementia, situations may get out of hand. MAS Alzheimerhilfe Austria, in cooperation with the Police Academy in Vienna (SIAK) designed an internet based teaching program consisting of 3 teaching modules lasting about 15 minutes each and one evaluation tool, which is implemented into the Austrian-wide Police Intranet. The E-learning tool was evaluated with a questionnaire integrated into the learning tool. Results show high satisfaction with the interactive tool. Currently, 4.651 police officers became familiar with the tool and 3.624 finished the E-learning program successfully with a personalized certificate. In addition to the E-learning tool, a certification process for Police Stations was initiated. If 75% of police officers in a Police Station successfully complete the learning tool and the police station can provide a proof of regular interactions with nearby social services (e.g. nursing homes, day care centres, dementia service centres) the station can apply to be certified as „Dementia friendly Police station“. So far, 25 police stations received this award.
This project was funded by “Fonds Gesundes Österreich”(Project 2442), Stefanie Auer,Ph.D. Professor for Dementia Studies, Danube University Krems, Scientific Director MAS Alzheimerhilfe.