Poster Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation II
Living with dementia - a qualitative longitudinal study
Hanna-Mari Pesonen, RN, MNSc, Department of Nursing Science and Health Administration, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Learning Objective #1: recognize the lack of knowledge concerning subjective experiences during early stage dementia.
Learning Objective #2: understand the importance of knowledge concerning subjective experiences of people with dementia.

Dementia has diverse impacts on the life of the patient and the family. Living with early stage dementia is described as individualized transitional process that starts before diagnosis is given.

There has been active research on diagnostics of dementia from the viewpoints of medicine and neuropsychology. Nursing research has mostly focused on the nursing practices and interventions on the later stages of dementia and on family members’ experiences and ability to cope with burden. There are limited findings on persons’ subjective experiences of living with dementia. Most of the these studies are cross-sectional studies and there is a need for more longitudinal research.

The development of nursing practices for people with dementia and their significant others is a challenge to social and health care, because the incidence of dementia will increase along with the ageing of the population. There is a need to develop supportive care that involves people with dementia as an active participant in their care. This study aims to respond to the challenging need to develop proactive nursing practices for people with dementia by producing knowledge from the viewpoints of both people living with early stage dementia and their significant others.

The purpose of this qualitative study is to describe and understand what it means to live with dementia. A longitudinal research desing is used and data will be collected at regular intervals during 1.5 – 2 years. The research data will consist of narrative interviews of both people with early stage dementia and their significant others and observations made during home visits. Patient records concerning functional abilities and mood are used as a background data. The recruitment criterion is a diagnosis of mild dementia. To obtain maximally versatile data, informants will not be excluded based on type of dementia, age or kinship.