Simulation learning to train healthcare students in person-centered dementia care

Kylie Meyer, Debbie James, Braulio Amezaga, Carole White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In coming decades, healthcare providers will treat a greater number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias than ever. Simulation-based learning provides experiential learning opportunities to enhance clinical training, but little is known about how dementia simulation training improves understanding of dementia or how it changes in participants’ ability to deliver high-quality healthcare to individuals living with dementia. In this study, we examine how a simulation training program may prepare healthcare trainees to treat individuals living with dementia. We conducted eight in-depth, one-on-one interviews with healthcare trainees who participated in the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) program and faculty who added VDT to their curricula, and also examined 20 reflection papers from students following participation in VDT. A thematic analysis of qualitative data led us to three themes: 1) dementia simulation complements and enhances traditional teaching methods, 2) dementia simulation helps students to understand the experiences of people living with dementia, and 3) experiential learning inspired students to reflect on actions they would take as clinicians and leaders to support individuals living with dementia and their families. Based on these findings, we propose a modified transformative learning process for dementia simulation training with healthcare students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-224
Number of pages16
JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Simulation
  • dementia
  • empathy
  • healthcare students
  • transformational learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Education


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