Human-Centered Approach for Dementia Patients

Posted on March 22, 2018

A person-centric approach has always been regarded as the way to go when taking care of people living with dementia, but the reality of the situation is rather disparate. There have been cases where the patient's human rights were ignored and their well-being threatened. As such these researchers set out to see the impact of implementing a human rights based approach intervention involving training for the staff at 10 intervention sites and 10 control sites.

The researchers used the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease scale to assess the subjective well-being of the person with dementia. A total of 439 people were recruited for the study: 213 to who went through the intervention, and 226 people who did not. No significant differences were found in the reported quality of life of residents between the control and intervention group after the intervention. In other words, there was ultimately no change in the quality of care provided or in the reported well-being of the people living with dementia. This, despite the increase in staff knowledge and positive attitudes towards human rights.

One must then question, from these results, the efficacy of training in bringing about cultural change and improving care practices. However, more details are required before we can draw any conclusions on whether or not the issue truly lies with the training, or whether the measures were simply problematic. For example, asking the staff or the patients to rate themselves might be prone to the social desirability effect, where one has the tendency to respond in a way that portrays themselves in a more favourable light to others.

Further, since the study was conducted only in the UK, one might argue that this study lacks external validity as the findings may only be generalized to the UK population and not to other countries, especially when we consider the fact that different countries tend to have different social policies regarding the care for people with dementia and also the stigma resulting from different cultures regarding people with these mental disorders. All in all, this study should be taken with a pinch of salt in the absence of further justification and elaboration.


Source material from NCBI

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