“The organization will profit from the experience”

Ursula Sottong, physician and master of public health, is leading the national competence centre for dementia health care of Malteser in Germany. As one of the new Silvia doctors she will adapt some of the methods of education used by Silviahemmet and Karolinska Institutet to her own organisation, Malteser Deutschland.

Ursula Sottong, graduate from Master's Courses in Dementia Care for Physicians 2016
Ursula Sottong (foto: Erik Cronberg)

How useful will the Master's Courses in Dementia Care for Physicians be in your profession?

– It has meant a lot for my organization and me. The dementia field is a very specific subject within the medical area, and although I already work in this field I have gained new medical knowledge. A lot of time was spent on practical problems and specific patient cases and it is very useful to understand what theories and knowledge really means for our daily work. It gave me some new ideas for our work here in Germany. It has also been very interesting to discuss dementia care with colleagues in different countries and to compare how health care and the society in general deal with different issues in different parts of the world. A network was formed between the participants and I hope there will be contact between us also in the future.

What will you bring back to your organization?

– The care for people with dementia is - beside palliative care - one of the priorities of the work of the order of Malta in Germany. Malteser Deutschland, the organisation I work for, cooperates with the Silviahemmet foundation since 2009.

During the last decade many efforts have been undertaken to strengthen our efforts in that area. We have started special care units for patients with dementia in general hospitals. For people in the early phase of dementia there are now possibilities for day care. Education is an important part of our activities and there are programs to train our employees, volunteers and relatives for the care of persons with dementia.

I am responsible for the national Malteser competence center for dementia care. My task is to support these efforts, to guide scientific studies, to develop sustainable concepts for different target groups, to initiate education and advanced training, to offer consultation hours for patients and relatives and more. During the coming years the organization will profit from the experience I gained in the education as a Silvia doctor.

The Master's Courses is a web-based education, the teachers are researchers in the dementia field and interaction between the participants are stimulated. How do you like the web format?

– If it hadn't been a web course I would not have managed. The web format means that I had access to all parts of he education anytime and anywhere. It is a very interesting course but also hard work for two years. The web format made it possible to combine with daily work.

Petra Hellbom