Background: In the past day-care facilities for people with dementia were developed with little input from the users. As these facilities play an increasingly important role in the lives of the growing number of community-living persons with dementia and their caregivers, it now seems obvious to incorporate users' perspectives when establishing or optimizing day care. This study addresses the needs and wishes of informal caregivers when providing skilled psychogeriatric day-care in the Netherlands.
Method: This is a qualitative, exploratory study, based on interviews with family caregivers and professional focus groups as the primary data source.
Results: Using data from the interviews, the needs and wishes of carers were classed into three general domains: (1) approach to care – relating to shared and tailored care and confidence in professionals as well as the facility as important themes; (2) professional expertise – relating to the carers' need for education and information regarding dementia, available resources, as well as cooperation between professionals; and (3) the day program – concerning the content and structure of the day care.
Conclusions: The interviews with the caregivers suggest that the relationship with day-care personnel is an important aspect of psychogeriatric day-care. Caregivers have high expectations regarding the expertise of professionals, but seem to be unaware of available resources and services. Professionals should play a more active role in providing education, advice and support. Above all, the attendees must have a positive experience of the day-care facilities and its activities.