Aim: To ascertain care staff's knowledge of dementia relating to aetiology and/or pathology, symptoms and care/treatment; and explore their perceptions of the importance and adequacy of dementia education and training opportunities.
Methods: Thirty-five care staff working in three secure dementia care facilities were recruited. Dementia knowledge was surveyed using the Staff Knowledge of Dementia Test (SKDT). Perceptions of dementia education and training were examined via semi-structured individual interviews.
Results: An average of 21 out of 33 SKDT questions (SD= 4.0) was correctly answered. Knowledge discrepancy was attributed to participants' cultural and ethnic origin and the length of residency in Australia of migrant care staff. Participants acknowledged the importance of dementia education and training but were critical of the content relevancy to direct care practices.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve care staff knowledge of dementia, and dementia education and training should include direct practical competencies required for effective care delivery.