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Using the Newcastle Model to understand people whose behaviour challenges in dementia care

Author: Louisa Jackman, Aileen Beatty

Duration: 2 hours Last updated: 2022 Quality Assurance: Peer-reviewed Level: Qualified nurses Language: English

Course description

The aim of this module is to introduce nurses in all specialties working with older people with dementia to a psychosocial model that might help them understand behaviour that challenges. The model has been developed for professionals who are working with staff in care settings, but it has also been helpful for working with people living at home.

The model is a psychological formulation model, which means that it is based on psychological theory and, therefore, enables us to link patterns of behaviour to current situations or triggers and past experiences, with guidance from what we know about ?typical' behaviour. This provides us with more information about how we might alter our approaches or the environment considering individuals' needs in a way that has a positive effect on their behaviour.

Don't forget that you do not have to complete our two-hour learning modules all in one go. Tailor your learning to fit into your busy schedule by undertaking one or two sections at a time. You can stop and save your learning at any point and pick up where you left off when you return.

Learning aims and intended outcomes

  • Identify major psychosocial factors that contribute to behaviour that challenges in people with dementia
  • Outline one model, based on psychological theory, to understand and help manage people with behaviour that challenges
  • Use holistic assessment to recognise and address the unmet needs of people with dementia
  • Use insights from the psychologically based formulation to support the individual needs of the person with dementia


  • Introduction
  • Working with behaviour that challenges
  • The Newcastle Model
  • Understanding behaviour as a communication of need
  • Person-centred risk care planning
  • Deprivation of liberty safeguards
  • Conclusions


Louisa Jackman
Associate lecturer, Newcastle University and lead psychologist in Older People Psychology Services, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Aileen Beatty
Clinical lead, behaviour support team, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.


Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to


  • Introduction
  • Working with behaviour that challenges
  • The Newcastle Model
  • Understanding behaviour as a communication of need
  • Person-centred risk care planning
  • Deprivation of liberty safeguards
  • Conclusions

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