Ellen L McKenzie and Patricia M Brown
University of Canberra, Australia
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Neurol Neurosci
Introduction: Providing mental health to care older people is complex with patients often experiencing co-morbid issues including dementia. Health professionals require skills to engage patients in their treatment. Exploring strategies used by individual health professionals working within older persons’ mental health services may inform best practice initiatives.
Method: Participants were health professionals from a community based older persons’ mental health service and an older persons’ mental health inpatient unit. Participants completed a semi-structured interview about strategies to engage with and barriers of providing person centered care to consumers with a co-morbid diagnosis of dementia. Qualitative thematic analysis of responses was completed using NVivo software.
Results: Themes generated from the qualitative analysis centered around the importance of relational engagement in addition to adherence to medical issues, relevant to the care cure dichotomy (a social psychology construct). Subthemes included: congruence, positive regard, communication, empathy, flexibility, and attunement.
Conclusions: Findings from this study provide direction for training of health professionals employed in a dementia setting and also for those who will provide incidental treatment such as health professionals employed in a mental health service for older people.