Low-threshold support services for people with dementia within the scope of respite care in Germany – A qualitative study on different stakeholders’ perspective

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Low-threshold support services are provided within the basket of services of German long-term care insurance as a part of respite care to support family carers and people with dementia. This study investigates various stakeholders’ (providers, coordinators, volunteers, family carers and people with dementia) perspectives on low-threshold support service regarding its organisation and conceptualisation as well as how stakeholders and users value low-threshold support service using a qualitative approach. Twelve guided interviews and group discussions were conducted with 31 participants. Organisation and conceptualisation are characterised by the lowness of the service thresholds, which is perceived to be quick and simple forms of support with no user requirements. Multiple barriers such as the challenging behaviour of people with dementia and their initial refusal as well as their holding low-threshold support service in low esteem can hinder the utilisation of these services. Low-threshold support service within the scope of the long-term care insurance law can be separated into two types: low-cost (non-professional) services and high-cost services with comprehensive training for ‘employed’ volunteers (professional). Both types are constantly developing within the landscape of the German long-term care system, and low-threshold support service appears to be adapted to diverse needs. Therefore, it is important to avoid replacing non-professional services with professional services.

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