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Dementia Awareness Building for Different Professional Groups within the Austrian Public


Stefanie Auer1,3 , Markus Richter2, Lisa Bauer2,  Eduard Dernesch2 , Gerhard Lang4, Petra Warisch4, Martina Stöfflbauer4, Paolo Drexler2, Deniz Sarikaya2, Margit Höfler1


1.Danube University Krems, Centre for Dementia Studies,  2.E-learning centre of the SIAK, E-Learning Centre, Federal Police Academy, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Vienna,   3.MAS Alzheimerhilfe, Bad Ischl Austria,   4.Federal Ministry of the Interior 



Police officers and Persons working in the public administration such as community administration often serve as a first point of contact in critical situations for both persons with dementia and their relatives. In order to be sensitive to the special needs of persons with dementia, training is essential. Therefore, the projects “Mission Dementia” and “Active Community” were initiated. The projects were supported by the “Fonds Gesundes Österreich” (Project 2442), the BVA (the insurance company for governmental employees) and by the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, respectively. 


In order to specifically target the needs of a professional group (Police Officers, Community workers), internet-based learning modules were developed involving members of the respective professional group into a co-creation process. Three e-learning modules (“basics”, “competence” and “understanding”) and one evaluation module were developed for each professional group. Also, a certification process for police stations was introduced and will be extended to community workers in the future.  In order to be certified, a police station needs to prove that 70% of all police officers working within one police station successfully completed the e-learning and the evaluation module. Additionally, networking activity with other organizations such as nursing homes, community centres or Dementia Service Centres must be proven. After this process is completed, a police station can be labelled as “Dementia friendly”. The learning programs are promoted in press articles, in homepage articles and by the minister of the interior.


For the initial evaluation of “Mission Dementia” for Police Officers, a questionnaire was developed assessing usability, relevance to practice, increase in competence, sustainability, and didactic. Two hundred twenty one Police officers completed the questionnaire anonymously. 78% were very satisfied with the learning program, 20% were satisfied and 2% were less satisfied. Officers commented that the usage of media (film and drawings) was very positive. To date, more than 12.000 Police Officers were trained with the modules and 200 Police Stations have been certified as “dementia friendly. This is more than half the Austrian Police task force. The learning program received several national and international awards (“Sozialmarie” 2018, E-Award 2019, Public Austrian and European Administration Awards in 2019, Austrian, German Swiss E-learning Award 2020. The learning program was also included into the toolbox of the WHO in 2019.

Future Development

A similar process of evaluation for the e-learning program and a certification process is currently developed for the community workers for the “Active Community” project.

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