As the global population ages, it is important that the professional care workforce is well prepared to support the needs of people with dementia. In Australia, the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) supports people with dementia and their carers through an interdisciplinary team approach. To provide DBMAS Behaviour Consultants with a tool to guide them in their professional development, this project aimed to develop a self-assessment tool to enable self-reflection on clinical competencies required for working in the service and identification of areas where further development would be required.
A multi-stage process was applied in the development of the tool, including review of the relevant literature and focus groups with DBMAS Behaviour Consultants and Team Leaders. The tool encompasses both skills and knowledge in working with people with dementia and caregivers. A pilot study including 14 DBMAS consultants was conducted to assess the utility of the measure and ensure variability of ratings across knowledge and skill areas relative to time working in DBMAS.
The Knowledge and Skills Assessment (KASA) was developed and is now used in DBMAS service both with novice Behaviour Consultants and more experienced staff, and is also being used as an on-line version, accompanied with case vignettes.
The KASA provides a valuable self-assessment tool for professional care staff working in dementia care, but would nevertheless still warrant further testing of its psychometric characteristics.