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211 - Changes to post-diagnostic dementia support in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison WheatleyORCiD, Dr Marie Poole, Professor Dame Louise Robinson


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Background:The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated widespread change across health and social care in England and Wales. A series of lockdowns and UK Government guidance designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which emphasised social distancing and increased use of personal protective equipment led to changes such as increased use of remote consultation technologies and the closure of services deemed non-essential. This included many services for people with dementia and their families, such as day centres and dementia cafes.Objective:To explore the changes made to services during the pandemic and the impact of these changes on the delivery of good post-diagnostic dementia support.Method:Professionals who had previously been recruited to the ongoing PriDem qualitative study were approached for follow up interview. Eighteen interviews with a total of 21 professionals working in health, social care and the third sector were conducted using telephone or video conferencing.Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and checked prior to thematic analysis.Results:Key themes emerging from preliminary analysis of the data include: uncertainty about the future and the need to adapt quickly to shifting guidance; changing job roles and ways of working; the emotional and physical impact of the pandemic on staff working with people with dementia and their families; and the impact of changes made (e.g. increased PPE, remote working) on the ability to deliver post-diagnostic support. However, there were also some unintended positive outcomes of the changes. These included the ability to include family members living at a distance in remote consultations, allowing for more robust history-taking, as well as the uptake of technology to facilitate cross-sector and multidisciplinary working between professionals.Conclusion:Delivering post-diagnostic dementia support during COVID-19 was challenging and forced dementia services to make adaptations. Participants expected that some of these changes would be incorporated into post-pandemic work, for example increased use of technology for multidisciplinary team meetings or blended approaches to patient-facing services involving both virtual and face to face work as appropriate. However, most participants agreed that it was not appropriate nor desirable to provide fully remote post-diagnostic support on a full time basis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wheatley A, Poole M, Robinson L

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 2021 IPA Virtual Congress

Year of Conference: 2021

Print publication date: 01/10/2021

Online publication date: 01/11/2021

Acceptance date: 17/08/2021

ISSN: 1041-6102

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1041610221001447

Series Title: International Psychogeriatrics