Nav: Home

Advancing dementia and its effect on care home relationships

June 03, 2019

  • Advancing dementia affects relationships between carers and those in their care
  • It also affects relationships between those with dementia in care and their families, and the relationship between residents
  • A better understanding of behaviour and behavioural change the key to sustaining good relationships
  • Research the first to address the impact of a wide range of behaviours
  • Findings welcomed by Care UK, the UK's largest independent provider of health and social care, particularly in relation to staff recruitment and retention
As dementia advances, in most cases it can change the behaviour displayed by those with the condition. Such changes in behaviour can bring strain to a wide-ranging network of relationships - from those between people with dementia and their professional carers, between those with dementia and their families, and to relationships between residents in residential care homes - which in turn can affect the delivery of care.

New research published today in the journal Dementia by researchers from the University of Chichester focuses on the effects of behavioural change due to dementia in a residential care home setting. Its findings are based on a survey of professional care-givers who shared their own experiences of the deterioration of the carer/cared-for relationship as dementia advances.

People living with dementia often experience a wide range of behavioural changes, from dramatic fluctuations in sleep patterns to problems eating, changes in mood, uncharacteristic sexual behaviour, aggression, a deterioration in interpersonal skills, self-care and temperament. The condition can also result in delusions, agitation, depression, anxiety, indifference and changes in motor behaviour.

Changes in behaviour have impact not just on the individual with dementia and those close to them - it can impact on professional care-givers. Previous research has focused primarily on aggression exhibited by the person living with dementia and its impact on family care-givers. This research breaks new ground by identifying a wide range of behaviours and examining their impact not just on family, but also on professional care-givers and other residents within the care home environment.

Professional care-giver participants in the survey identified the strain dementia-related behaviour change places on the relationship between themselves and those in their care. In their professional position they were also able to witness the deteriorating effect on inter-family relationships, and on the relationships between residents within the care home itself.

The general consensus among professional care-givers was that the deterioration of relationships with their charges was upsetting for them, and that they would welcome additional support and/or training to help them better understand the ramifications of behaviour change as the result of dementia. All recognised that a better understanding would result in achieving and sustaining good relationships.

Dr Antonina Pereira, Co-Director of the Institute of Education, Health and Social Sciences at the University of Chichester is co-author with colleague Katie Appleton of the research. She commented: "Professional care-givers have identified as part of their everyday practice an effective deterioration in relationships between themselves and residents in their care. Our findings point to the fact that professional care-givers would benefit from more intense and in-depth training, focusing on the understanding of behaviour change across the development of dementia. In our view such training should ideally place emphasis on the degenerative nature of dementia and the fact that its progression is likely to differ from person to person."

Suzanne Mumford, Lead Quality Development Manager for Approach to Care and Dementia Services at Care UK, the UK's largest independent provider of health and social care and which runs more than 100 care homes, commented: "At a time when the recruitment and retention of care and nursing staff is challenging the provision of health and social care in the UK, this research highlights the impact on professional caregivers of supporting people living with dementia with diverse and complex physical and psychological needs."

She added: "The authors discuss the importance of developing communication skills through training. Care UK's university-accredited Living Well with Dementia programme of training and coaching provides all staff with training that includes a comprehensive understanding of the feelings that drive behaviours, this helps to build connection and relationships that promote trust, respect and inclusion. A broader understanding of the emotional and psychological dependency experienced by people living with dementia and how that affects the approach of both professional and family caregivers would benefit from further research to establish whether other factors can improve connection and reduce the incidence of caregiver burnout."
-end-
Appleton, K. & Pereira, A. (2019). Behavioural changes in dementia and their impact on professional caregivers: A grounded theory approach. Dementia, 18(4) 1479-1491.

University of Chichester

Related Dementia Articles:

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.
Building dementia friendly churches
A project to help church communities become more 'dementia friendly' has had a significant impact across the country.
A "feeling" for dementia?
A research team led by the DZNE concludes that personal perception can be an important indicator for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.
New biomarker for dementia diagnosis
Medical researchers in the UK and Australia have identified a new marker which could support the search for novel preventative and therapeutic treatments for dementia.
Digital solutions for dementia care
Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say.
Despite a marked reduction in the prevalence of dementia, the number of people with dementia is set to double by 2050 according to new Alzheimer Europe report
Today, at a European Parliament lunch debate, Alzheimer Europe launched a new report presenting the findings of its collaborative analysis of recent prevalence studies and setting out updated prevalence rates for dementia in Europe.
Inflammatory marker linked to dementia
Higher levels of an inflammatory marker, sCD14, were associated with brain atrophy, cognitive decline and dementia in two large heart studies.
How likely do you think you are to develop dementia?
A poll suggests almost half of adults ages 50 to 64 believe they're likely to develop dementia.
Latest issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia
Predicting heart disease might also be a warning sign for Alzheimer's; A new way to think about the environment and Alzheimer's research; Most dementia patients don't receive care from physicians who specialize in brain health.
What multilingual nuns can tell us about dementia
A strong ability in languages may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, says a new University of Waterloo study.
More Dementia News and Dementia Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.