Finding the compassionate human face of support services: an early intervention for dementia dyads
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This presentation reports on qualitative findings from an innovative early intervention for dementia dyads; people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or a diagnosis of early-stage dementia, and their family caregiver. A key focus of the seven in-home sessions was on reducing the risk of dyadic relationship stress and potential for breakdown of the care giving relationship. Dyads [n=88] were recruited and 45 assigned to the intervention group; 7 did not receive the intervention, 34 completed the intervention [=4 sessions]. To initiate engagement between dementia dyads and community service providers 23 service practitioners were recruited and trained to deliver the intervention. An exploratory sequential mixed-methods design was utilised with the qualitative data collection following the quantitative. Intervention evaluation involved post-intervention structured interviews (dyad) and post-session questionnaires/reflective notes and post-intervention semi-structured interviews (staff). Structured forward planning and early introduction to community service providers were critical elements in empowering dementia dyads and fostering appropriate identification of and access to support. Staff communication skills and competence were an important component in dyad acceptability of support from outside the family. During intervention sessions staff provided information and advice, initiated a pathway into support networks and facilitated the active participation of the person with dementia in the information sharing, decision making and planning process. Each member of the dyad felt being listened to and having their viewpoint heard by their partner, to be one of the most worthwhile aspects of their participation. This paper highlights the value of collaborative practice in improving service user/provider outcomes.
8th National Dementia Research Forum
Aged Care Nursing