Background: Attitudes of residential care staff toward residents with dementia affect the quality of care. We examined the attitude of frontline residential care staff toward residents with dementia, and how the presence of specialized care units or programs may affect staff attitude.
Methods: Staff working in nursing homes participated in a survey which covered demographic data, current state of dementia care in workplace, opinion regarding dementia care, and perceived importance of dementia behaviors.
Results: 1,047 nurses and personal care workers participated. 78.8% respondents reported difficulties in managing dementia residents. Those who ranked positive symptoms as more important were 4.5 times more likely to report difficulties, independent of experience. Independent factors associated with positive attitudes toward further training were working in a non-profit home (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1, 5.0; p = 0.024) and having a dementia program or unit in the current workplace (OR 1.8, 95% CI 0.985, 3.302; p = 0.056). Only having a dementia program or unit in the current workplace was associated with a positive attitude toward commitment to stay in dementia care (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1, 3.2; p = 0.021), adjusted for gender, type of home, post, dementia prevalence in workplace, and work experience.
Conclusion: The majority of long-term care staff felt dementia care difficult yet hold positive attitude toward further training and were committed to stay in dementia care. Having a specialized dementia care unit or program in the current workplace was associated with commitment to stay in dementia care and was marginally associated with positive attitude toward further training.