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Facilitation of activities for people with dementia in day care: a qualitative study exploring the experiences of staff

Authors Strandenæs MG, Lund A, Rokstad AMM

Received 12 December 2018

Accepted for publication 12 April 2019

Published 3 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 503—513

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S198024

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Margit Gausdal Strandenæs,1–3 Anne Lund,4 Anne Marie Mork Rokstad1,5

1Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Ageing and Health, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway; 2Department of Geriatric Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; 3Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; 4Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway; 5Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Care, Molde University College, Molde, Norway

Background: Day care service (day care) is recommended as an activity service for home-dwelling people with dementia in Norway. However, there is limited knowledge about strategies to promote engagement and participation in activities at day care. The aim of this study was to gain understanding of the staff’s experiences on how to enhance engagement and participation in activities for attendees.
Methods: The study has a qualitative design, using group interviews with staff and field observations at day care designed for people with dementia. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze interviews, and the findings from the observations were used to illuminate the findings in the interviews. Three group interviews including a total of 10 staff participants were conducted. Additionally, 35 attendees were observed during 2 days of field observations at each day care.
Results: The main theme that emerged from the analysis was the staff’s primary objective to make meaningful days for the attendees. To achieve this, the importance of having individual knowledge about the attendees to enhance relationships, creating a balanced group composition, personal competence and skills of the staff, and the importance of using activities in different ways, was highlighted. Most findings from the field observations coincide with those in the interviews. However, the observations revealed that the staff seemed to have insufficient knowledge of offering individual tailored and structured meaningful activities to the attendees. There is a potential of including the attendees even more in the ongoing activities.
Conclusion: Staff play an important role in promoting and facilitating activities to increase engagement and participation in activities. There is a potential for greater structured use of activities and cognitive stimulation. To avoid occupational injustice and the risk of decreased health and well-being among home-dwelling people with dementia, more differentiated and individual tailored services are needed.

Keywords: day care, dementia, activities, participation, engagement, facilitating

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