The aim of this paper is to report on the transformation of a small local hospital offering, for the first time, an acute geriatric service. At the start of this process in 2005 it became evident that many of the staff were inexperienced in providing care to older patients, specifically, and most obviously, in the area of dementia care. Previously, the clinical focus had been on medical and surgical care and the staff therefore needed to develop a new range of skills and knowledge. A practice development process was adopted to transform the service with the overall aims of: • creating a workforce competent to provide safe, effective, patientcentred care for older patients; and • developing and implementing a staff education programme to meet the needs of the staff and patients. This involved using a survey to gather baseline data about the level of dementia competence and developing a dementia educational programme. In this paper, we present the evaluation of this dementia educational programme and its impact on knowledge in a new specialist aged care clinical setting.