Towards Integrated Services for Dementia: Formal Carer Perspectives
1University of Northampton, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, United Kingdom
2Simon Fraser University, School of Public Policy, Canada
3Simon Fraser University, Gerontology Research Center, Canada
Purpose: Past research has identified the need for integrated dementia services in order to enable people with dementia to stay independently at home for as long as possible. However, the formal carer role within an integrated framework of service delivery has not been well articulated in practice. This paper presents qualitative understandings of the experiences of formal carers working within the context of an integrated dementia service delivered in the North of England. Methods: Experiences of formal carers working within the service were captured via observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Findings: Working within an integrated care context brings individual, social and organisational rewards and challenges to the role of the formal carer, in terms of: delivering flexibility and responsiveness, providing continuity of care, ensuring cross-organisational commitment and acquiring skills, knowledge and expertise. Discussion: To facilitate the successful delivery of integrated care, the emerging role of the formal carer needs to be more clearly articulated and supported within the service context.