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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. Real accounts from people affected by dementia, their family members and carers, enrich this highly interactive module.

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Module code
Study level
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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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. During your study of this unit 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

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student 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.


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
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

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 you register.

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.

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

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. 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 qualification 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 modules.  

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 that is 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 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 03/08/2015.

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.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components are available, as are printable versions of the online text based material. Some online material may not be fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.  

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.