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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 108, Issue 5–6, pp e639–e642 | Cite as

Caring for seniors living with dementia means caring for their caregivers too

  • Annie Poirier
  • Philippe Voyer
  • France Légaré
  • Michèle Morin
  • Holly O. Witteman
  • Edeltraut Kröger
  • Bernard Martineau
  • Charo Rodríguez
  • Anik M. C. GiguereEmail author
Commentary

Abstract

To improve the care of seniors living with dementia, current initiatives typically target better identification and treatment of the patient. Our recent survey, however, shows we should also focus more on the needs of the informal caregivers who care for this population in primary care settings. This three-round Delphi survey sought caregivers’ views on the most frequent and difficult decisions that seniors with dementia, their informal caregivers, and health care providers face in primary care settings in the province of Quebec. Respondents consisted of 31 health care professionals, informal caregivers, managers, representatives of community-based organizations devoted to these seniors, and clinical researchers involved in the organization of care or services to seniors with dementia. When we asked respondents to rank 27 common but difficult decisions involving benefit/harm trade-offs, 83% ranked the decision to choose an option to reduce the burden of informal caregivers as one of the five most important decisions. Choosing a treatment to manage agitation, aggression or psychotic symptoms followed closely, with 79% of respondents selecting it as one of the five most important decisions. Our results point to the importance of attending to the needs of informal caregivers and improving the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Key words

Caregivers aged dementia spouse decision making decision support technique 

Résumé

Les initiatives visant à améliorer les soins aux personnes âgées atteintes de démence ciblent généralement une meilleure identification et un meilleur traitement du patient. Notre sondage montre toutefois que nous devrions nous concentrer davantage sur les besoins des aidants naturels qui s’occupent de cette population en première ligne. Ce sondage Delphi en trois rondes a permis de recueillir les opinions des soignants sur les décisions les plus fréquentes et les plus difficiles auxquelles sont confrontés les aînés atteints de démence, leurs aidants naturels et les professionnels de la santé et des services sociaux œuvrant en première ligne au Québec. Les répondants comprenaient 31 professionnels de la santé et des services sociaux, des aidants naturels, des gestionnaires, des représentants d’organismes communautaires dédiés à ces aînés et des chercheurs-cliniciens impliqués dans l’organisation de soins ou de services aux personnes âgées atteintes de démence. Nous avons demandé aux répondants de classer 27 décisions fréquentes, et difficiles en raison des avantages et des inconvénients qu’elles comportent. La majorité (83 %) a priorisé la décision de choisir une option pour réduire le fardeau des aidants naturels parmi les cinq décisions les plus importantes. Le choix d’un traitement pour gérer l’agitation, l’agressivité ou les symptômes psychotiques a suivi de près, avec 79 % des répondants l’ayant choisi comme l’une des cinq décisions les plus importantes. Nos résultats soulignent l’importance de répondre aux besoins des aidants naturels et d’améliorer la gestion des symptômes comportementaux et psychologiques de la démence.

Mots clés

proches aidant vieillissement démence troubles cognitifs prise de décision outils d’aide à la décision 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annie Poirier
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philippe Voyer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • France Légaré
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michèle Morin
    • 2
    • 5
  • Holly O. Witteman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Edeltraut Kröger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Bernard Martineau
    • 7
  • Charo Rodríguez
    • 8
  • Anik M. C. Giguere
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Centre of the CHU of QuebecQuebec CityCanada
  2. 2.Quebec Excellence Centre on AgingSt. Sacrement HospitalQuebec CityCanada
  3. 3.Department of Family and Emergency MedicineLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of NursingLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada
  5. 5.Department of MedicineLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada
  6. 6.Faculty of PharmacyLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada
  7. 7.Department of Family and Emergency MedicineSherbrooke UniversitySherbrookeCanada
  8. 8.Department of Family MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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