• post-graduate nurse education;
  • action plan;
  • dementia care;
  • relatives’ involvement

The provision by nurses of appropriate levels of care for people with dementia is considered to be adversely affected by the inadequate provision of post basic education. This paper reports on a study that seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief educational programme for charge nurses caring for people with dementia. In addition it focuses on behavioural change resulting from the course, for example, the degree of involvement of relatives in the care of their family member. The course is seen as a model for short courses for nurses working in this area. Qualitative methodology was utilized involving questionnaires and focused group interviews. The evaluation of the course incorporated pre- and post-test design. The study identified factors that enhanced the charge nurses’ educational experience. These factors included a course design incorporating andragogical teaching methods and the implementation of an action plan. The study also highlighted problems experienced by charge nurses in implementing an action plan. The action plan demonstrated that the type of involvement of relatives is more complex than presupposed and depended on such factors as the fear experienced by the relative of being left with the responsibility to care for their family member should they offer to contribute to their care in hospital. Recommendations for the design of future courses are made.