Downes, Megan (2020) Client-Caregiver Relationships in Dementia Care: The Experiences and Perceptions of Health Care Professionals. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

At present, the practical use of person-centred care principles in health care facilities is provoking the need to explore the relational aspects associated with leading dementia care practice. Alzheimer’s Society UK states how dementia is becoming one of the leading causes of death along with the prevalence of the disease set to rise. The current research aims to explore the lived experience and how participants make sense of client-caregiver relationships in dementia care. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was chosen for this study as it focused on understanding the meanings attributed by participants towards relationships in dementia care. Five participants were interviewed using semi-structured questions designed by the researcher. Each interview lasted approximately thirty to fifty minutes and were analysed using IPA. The close analysis of the five interviews produced four superordinate themes:

1. Trying to remain positive: ‘glass half full in all situations.’
2. Experiencing variety: workdays, individuals and reactions.
3. Emotional intelligence: caregivers experience suppressing their own emotions and maintaining the human relationship.
4. Growth aspirations: developing self as a caregiver through the experience of time.

The results suggested that the participants believed relationships to be a valuable aspect concerned with the delivery of person-centred dementia care, while highlighting factors which affect both the well-being of the residents and the staff. Recommendations for practice suggest questions regarding the effectiveness of psychological training. Such as, balancing clinical detachment and empathy to optimise the provision of care for residents. Also addressing the need for stress management/awareness in mandatory training for health care assistants. Finally, this research acknowledges the need for future research in key areas of dementia care practice such as time, staff-wellbeing, and training.

FINAL THESIS - Downes.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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