Quality in residential care from the perspective of people living with dementia: The importance of personhood
Bradley, Clare Eileen
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Highlights • People with dementia living in residential aged care homes were able to successfully participate in interviews to discuss the meaning of quality in residential care. • For both family members and people living with dementia, supporting the personhood of the residents was considered a highly important component of quality. • The importance of considering the psychosocial aspects of care provided to people with dementia in residential care settings, in addition to the physical and environmental aspects of care provided to people with dementia in residential care settings, is emphasised. Abstract Background Providing quality care for people with dementia to meet the growing demand for services is a significant challenge to Australia and globally. When it comes to planning for current and future care needs, limited information is available on what people living with dementia and their family members consider the meaning of “quality” in residential care services. Objective To describe the meaning of quality residential care from the perspective of people with cognitive impairment and their family members. Design Qualitative data collection via in-depth interviews and focus groups was undertaken with people with dementia or cognitive impairment living in residential care or the community (n = 15), and family members of people with dementia (n = 26). Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key themes. Results The theme of supporting personhood was identified as the overarching concept of importance to both people with dementia and their family members and as the foundation for quality care. There were subtle differences in how this concept was expressed by people with dementia themselves and their family members. However, for both groups, access to meaningful activities and opportunities to feel useful and valued were identified as important ways to support personhood in residential care. Separate to this theme of personhood, family members also talked about the importance of a supportive physical environment in the care home, while for the people with dementia themselves maintaining a connection with family was an important contributor to their experience of good quality residential care. Conclusions Supporting personhood was identified as a critical key concept underpinning quality residential aged care, from the perspective of both people with cognitive impairment and their family members. This highlights the important contribution that the psychological and social characteristics of care make to providing a good quality residential care experience from the perspective of consumers with dementia.