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Why do patients and their families not use services for dementia? Perspectives from a developed Asian country

  • June Lim (a1), Jenny Goh (a2), Hui Ling Chionh (a3) and Philip Yap (a3) (a4)

Background: Despite the need for community services to support the intensive levels of care provided by dementia family caregivers, findings consistently indicate low rates of service utilization. This study aims to explore the extent of service use and examine the factors that may influence the use of services in a sample of family caregivers of Persons With Dementia (PWD).

Methods: Two hundred and seventy-two family caregivers completed a questionnaire assessing caregiver burden, knowledge and use of services, dementia severity, frequency of problem behaviors and socio-demographic characteristics.

Results: The rate of service use was modest with 39.9% using any of the available services. Reasons for non-use included lack of time (26.2%), perceived lack of need (18.5%), and presence of domestic help (21%). Separate regression models were evaluated to identify factors associated with caregiver service use and PWD service-use. Caregiver employment status (OR = 0.53, CI = 0.30–0.94) and knowledge of available services (OR = 4.22, CI = 2.23–7.98) contributed significantly to the model distinguishing caregiver service users from non-users. Knowledge of available services (OR = 2.14, CI = 1.23–3.71) was the only significant predictor of service use targeted at the PWD.

Conclusions: Given that knowledge significantly increased the odds of service use, strategies should be designed to raise awareness about the availability of dementia support services in the community and provide a deeper understanding about the value of such services. Future research should employ larger sample sizes and explore factors not measured in this study that might potentially better explain use of services.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Yap Lin Kiat Philip, B. Soc. Sci (Hons), Senior Consultant, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central Singapore, Singapore 768826. Phone: +6565558000; Fax: +6566023767. Email:
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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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