AbstractBackgroundOlder adults are among the most frequent of health service users and often require physiotherapy input. Since the prevalence of dementia rises with age, physiotherapists regularly treat older adults with dementia in the acute setting. However advancing competence in the area of dementia care represents a significant cultural shift for the physiotherapy profession. Dementia education which specifically addresses both the learning needs of physiotherapists and the cultural context in which they work may be the first step to advancing competence and enabling best practice.MethodsA learning needs analysis was conducted within a physiotherapy department in an acute, level three hospital. An educational programme was subsequently designed and delivered over six weeks. The programme aimed to equip physiotherapists with both the knowledge and skills to best support the person with dementia in the acute care setting. Careful consideration was given to the social construct of dementia, inclusion of the voice of the person with dementia and the historical barriers experienced when accessing therapy services in the acute care environment.ResultsThe perceived benefit of the education programme was evaluated by means of a participant survey. 100% of respondents felt that undergraduate training did not sufficiently prepare them to work with adults with dementia. As a result of the educational programme, 100% of participants reported increased competence when treating adults with dementia and a subsequent positive impact on physiotherapy practice. 88% of respondents agreed that ongoing professional development in this area of dementia care would be beneficial and 100% reported that they would recommend the educational programme to a colleague.ConclusionThe changing landscape of healthcare delivery has opened up new ways of working. Physiotherapists are in a unique position to support the person with dementia in the acute care setting. Participants of this educational programme demonstrated high motivation to advance their knowledge and skills in the area of person-centred dementia care.