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Current experiences and educational preferences of general practitioners and staff caring for people with dementia living in residential facilities

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-9-36

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A mixed methods study design was utilised. A survey was distributed to a convenience sample of general practitioners, and staff in 223 consecutive residential care facilities in Perth, Western Australia. Responses were received from 102 RCF staff working in 10 facilities (out of 33 facilities who agreed to distribute the survey) and 202 GPs (19% of metropolitan GPs). Quantitative survey data were summarised descriptively and chi squared statistics were used to analyse the distribution of categorical variables. Qualitative data were collected from general practitioners, staff in residential care facilities and family carers of people with dementia utilizing individual interviews, surveys and focus groups. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.Among RCF staff and GPs attending RCF, participation in dementia education was high, and knowledge levels generally perceived as good. The individual experiences and needs of people with dementia and their families were emphasised. Participants identified the need for a person centred philosophy to underpin educational interventions. Limited time was a frequently mentioned barrier, especially in relation to attending dementia care education. Perceived educational needs relating to behaviours of concern, communication, knowledge regarding dementia, aspects of person centred care, system factors and the multidisciplinary team were consistently and frequently cited. Small group education which is flexible, individualized, practical and case based was sought.The effectiveness and sustainability of an educational intervention based on these findings needs to be tested. In addition, future interventions should focus on supporting cultural change to facilitate sustainable improvements in care.Dementia is estimated to affect 0.9% of Australians and is now the leading cause of non-fatal disease burden among older Australians. [1,2] Prevalence is strongly age-related, with estimated prevalence rates of 6.5% in people aged 65 years a


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