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"We're all thrown in the same boat...": A qualitative analysis of peer support in dementia care

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Dame Louise Robinson, Dr Lynne Corner



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Peer support is well established in fields such as the disability movement and mental health and is increasingly recognised as one way of enabling support by and for people with a diagnosis of dementia and their immediate carers. It was central to the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy (NDS) for England, when 40 demonstration sites were established. This mixed-methods study included in-depth qualitative interviews with people living with dementia (n=101) and staff/stakeholders (n=82) at 8 of the 40 sites. Data analysis was a five-stage process: coding framework developed (using 25 transcripts); further development of the framework (using a further 70 transcripts); development of emerging themes; modelling of themes and verification of models based on the entire data set. Peer support had positive emotional and social impact that was rooted in identification with others, a commonality of experience and reciprocity of support. There was also a contrast between the quality of peer support and support from professionals. This emphasises the significance of lived experience and promoting a strength-based approach to interpersonal support that is enabling and challenges a deficit approach to understanding dementia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Keyes SE, Clarke CL, Wilkinson H, Alexjuk EJ, Wilcockson J, Robinson L, Reynolds J, McClelland S, Corner L, Cattan M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Dementia

Year: 2016

Volume: 15

Issue: 4

Pages: 560-577

Print publication date: 01/07/2016

Online publication date: 17/04/2014

Acceptance date: 10/02/2014

Date deposited: 08/09/2016

ISSN (print): 1471-3012

ISSN (electronic): 1741-2684

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/1471301214529575


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Funder referenceFunder name
025/0058Department of Health Policy Research Programme