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Dementia care

The rising number of people with dementia and the issue of how care is delivered make this online module of interest to anyone involved with dementia care. You will study the impact of this increase; the importance of understanding diversity; current thinking about possible causes and cures; how care is delivered in a residential setting and what it means to improve the management of care. You will also consider ethical dilemmas raised by caring for people with dementia including end-of-life decisions and issues around capacity. Real accounts from people affected by dementia, their family members and carers, enrich this highly interactive module.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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Student Reviews

K235 coincided with the NVQ I was studying - and the two complemented each other nicely. The module gave me...
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Dementia is an interesting course but you have to organise your time as there is a lot to read, especially...
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What you will study

This module addresses the pressing need to develop skills in understanding and caring for people with dementia. You will study what dementia is and the experience of living with dementia; how cultures of residential care can be improved to put the needs of people with dementia at the centre of care; and some of the difficult issues that arise for people with dementia near the end of their life.

This module addresses the following key themes:

  • the extent to which dementia has become a medical problem and attitudes to people with dementia
  • the meaning of identity and personhood and how this impacts on the sense of loss associated with dementia
  • the way in which cultures of care frame the experience of living with dementia
  • the social, practical, clinical and ethical dimensions of decision-making about dementia care.

The module is divided into three blocks of study and each unit of the blocks comprises one week of study.

In Block 1 – Context of care – you will study the meaning of dementia and its impact at a personal level and the profile of the population of people with dementia. This includes the physical changes that take place in the brain; how different types of dementia produce different symptoms; and any interventions that are available for people with dementia, including the way that space can be designed for better living. You will also study the relationship between identity and memory, the impact of dementia on relationships and how people with dementia might be stigmatised.

In Block 2 – Managing care – you will use key ideas of ‘cultures of care’ to analyse what is happening in a series of filmed programmes in which businessman Sir Gerry Robinson asks how the care home industry can be ‘fixed’. You consider the constraints on better care and at what level you might influence change. The principles used in evaluating the quality of care in the homes featured in these broadcasts also apply to other care settings.

Block 3 – Making dementia care decisions – defines and applies the principles of what it means to be a person and how the choices that people with dementia can make are compromised. The block also considers who has the right to make choices for other people if their capacity is compromised and what this means at the end of life. Central to this block is a three-episode drama about a man with dementia. It is accompanied by a panel debate about the choices that are available to him, his family and carers and how choices are affected by the context within which they happen. This will be an opportunity to consider the legal issues concerning decisions. During your study of this block you are asked to take the perspective of the person with dementia when you are considering his needs.

This module has a large proportion of audio and visual material which provides you with a range of real stories from people affected by dementia.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

Dementia care starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 when we expect it to start for the last time.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 module. Although you don’t need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, you do need the study skills to study at this level, obtained either through OU level 1 study, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

    Our key introductory OU level 1 module An introduction to health and social care (K101) would be ideal preparation.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £1464.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    October 2018 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 20/07/2018.

    What's included

    This module and all the associated study material is presented online with no print material except a printed Module Guide which will give you guidance on how to get started.

    Extensive use of a video resource is intended to make the module an engaging and interactive experience and is where you will get to see practical lessons in dementia care. 

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K235 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.