Involving institutionalised people with dementia in their care-planning meetings: lessons learnt by the staff

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Abstract

Background:

Applying a person-centred care (PCC) approach is an aspiration for many services attending people with dementia (PwD). However, the implementation and assessment of PCC practices represent a challenge to health professionals.

Aim:

To evaluate the impact on staff of a programme aiming to involve people with dementia (PwD) in their individualised care-planning (ICP) meetings in long-term residential settings; specifically, to explore the lessons that staff perceived they had learned from the experience.

Methods:

Twenty-one staff members working in residential facilities for older people were interviewed after the programme. Responses to two questions (‘Do you think that your work has been affected in any way by the attendance of PwD at ICP meetings?’ and ‘Have you learnt something new as a result of these meetings?’) were submitted to thematic analysis.

Results:

Eighteen of the 21 participants identified at least one lesson they had learned from the experience. The lessons could be grouped under three main headings: (i) an increase in their understanding of PwD, (ii) questioning of their own care practices, and (iii) an improvement in teamwork.

Conclusion:

The involvement of PwD in ICP meetings had a positive impact on staff. They stated that the experience encouraged them to develop PCC-compatible attitudes and modify the way they treat PwD, thus improving the quality of care they deliver. The experience also seemed to empower staff (particularly the lesser trained members) and increase the cohesion of working teams.

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