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“Who to Tell, How and When?”: Development and Preliminary Feasibility of an Empowerment Intervention for People Living with Dementia Who are Fearful of Disclosing Their Diagnosis

Authors Bhatt J, Ruffell TO, Scior K, Charlesworth G

Received 16 April 2020

Accepted for publication 3 July 2020

Published 14 August 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 1393—1407


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Jem Bhatt,1 Tamatha Ophelia Ruffell,1 Katrina Scior,1 Georgina Charlesworth1,2

1Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK; 2Research and Development, North East London Foundation Trust, London, UK

Correspondence: Jem Bhatt
Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E7HB, UK

Objective: This study describes the adaptation of Honest, Open, Proud (HOP), to develop an empowerment intervention supporting disclosure decision-making for dyads of people living with dementia and their chosen supporter.
Methods: Medical Research Council guidelines for developing complex interventions informed intervention development and feasibility testing. This included identifying the evidence base and theory (establishing HOP theory of change, a systematic review on decision-making in dementia, a stakeholder consultation), modelling the intervention materials with research experts (creation of version 1.0) and experts by experience (creation of version 2.0), and pilot testing the intervention recording participant observations and facilitator reflections. The final version of the intervention materials was developed with experts by experience of dementia where the accessibility of language and appropriate styles of facilitation were the focus.
Results: The concept of the intervention was strongly endorsed by respondents of the stakeholder consultation (209/226). Stakeholder preferences included face-to-face delivery, a manualized workbook approach and the inclusion of the primary carer during intervention delivery. Recruitment for intervention groups took place in non-NHS settings (2 small groups recruited) and NHS settings (no groups recruited). In non-NHS settings, 7 dyads agreed to take part in one of two intervention groups. Both intervention groups had over 70% attendance by participants (group 1: 72.2% group 2: 87.5%).
Conclusion: The concept of an intervention to support diagnostic disclosure was endorsed by stakeholders; however, recruitment was challenging; the “who to tell, how and when?” intervention has the potential to fill a gap in the post-diagnostic pathway.

Keywords: stigma, disclosure, dementia, psychosocial, post-diagnosis

Creative Commons License This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The full terms of the License are available at The license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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