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Service-related needs of older people with dementia: perspectives of service users and their unpaid carers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2013

Sylwia Górska*
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK
Kirsty Forsyth
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK
Linda Irvine
Affiliation:
Mental Health and Wellbeing, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh EH1 3EG, Scotland, UK
Donald Maciver
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK
Susan Prior
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK
Jacqueline Whitehead
Affiliation:
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK
Janice Flockhart
Affiliation:
Care of the Elderly Team/Primary Care Dementia Team, Bonnyrigg Health Centre, NHS Lothian, Bonnyrigg EH19 2AT, Scotland, UK
Jane Fairnie
Affiliation:
Midlothian Council, Fairfield House, Dalkeith EH22 3AA, Scotland, UK
Jenny Reid
Affiliation:
Midlothian Community Hospital, NHS Lothian, Bonnyrigg EH22 3ND, Scotland, UK
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Sylwia Górska, MSc OT, School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU, Scotland, UK. Phone: +44 (0)131-474-0000; Fax: +44 (0)131-474-0001. Email: sgorska@qmu.ac.uk.

Abstract

Background: Dementia is a major cause of disability among older people and constitutes one of the greatest challenges currently facing families and health and social care services in the developed world. In response to trends in dementia prevalence and the impact the condition has on peoples’ lives, dementia care has been placed high on the public and political agenda in the United Kingdom. However, despite significant public resources being allocated to combat the impact of the disease, recent evidence indicates that numerous challenges in relation to service provision remain. This study aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the lived experience of people with dementia regarding their service-related needs.

Method: The study made use of data gathered through individual semi-structured, narrative interviews conducted with persons with experience of dementia and their unpaid carers.

Results: Although participants were generally satisfied with the services they received, a number of unmet needs related to service provision were identified. In terms of diagnostic procedures the findings of this study indicate the need for early diagnosis delivered through a comprehensive assessment package. The participants also highlighted the need for well-coordinated post-diagnostic support, greater continuity of care concerning the personnel involved, and enhanced access to non-pharmacological interventions to support identity and social engagement.

Conclusion: This study contributes to a better understanding of service-related needs of people with dementia in relation to diagnostic procedures and post-diagnostic support.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2013 

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