Multi-perspective study from geriatrics research program published in Dementia journal

Published

New article by our team of interdisciplinary researchers: Aaron Beck (Shapiro research scholar); Gwen Costa Jacobsohn, PhD; Matthew Hollander, PhD (former postgraduate research fellow); Manish N. Shah, MD, MPH; the UW School of Nursing; and the UW College of Engineering. "Features of primary care practice influence emergency care-seeking behaviors by caregivers of persons with dementia: A multiple-perspective qualitative study."

Background: Persons with dementia use emergency department services at rates greater than other older adults. Despite risks associated with emergency department use, persons with dementia and their caregivers often seek emergency services to address needs and symptoms that could be managed within primary care settings. As emergency departments (EDs) are typically sub-optimal environments for addressing dementia-related health issues, facilitating effective primary care provision is critical to reduce the need for, or decision to seek, emergency services. The aim of this study is to explore how features of primary care practice influence care-seeking decisions by community-dwelling persons with dementia and familial caregivers.

Conclusions: Features of primary care practice influence decisions to seek emergency department care at the system, organizational/clinic, medical, and interpersonal levels, particularly regarding proactive and reactive approaches to addressing dementia-related needs. Interventions for improving primary care for persons with dementia and their caregivers should consider incorporating features that facilitate proactive family-centered dementia care across the four identified themes, and minimize those leading to caregiver decisions to utilize emergency services.

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