Queen Margaret University, UK
Sylwia joined Firefly Research in 2011. She has an extensive experience working with people of various ages and different forms of disability and mental health challenges. She holds MA in Psychology from Warsaw University and MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen Margaret University. She is currently co-leading the Evaluate project - a research initiative focussed on developing evidence base for a range of mental health services in Lothian. In 2011 Sylwia initiated her PhD process at QMU.
Background: Dementia is a major cause of disability among older people and constitutes one of the greatest challenges currently facing families and health and social care services in the developed world. In response to the increasing prevalence of dementia and the impact the condition has on peoples’ lives, dementia care has been placed high on the public and political agenda in the United Kingdom and globally. Despite significant public resources being allocated to combat the impact of the disease, recent evidence indicates that numerous challenges in relation to service provision remain. Aims: To develop a deep understanding of what people with lived experience of dementia identify as health and social care service needs. Methods: Data was gathered using individual semi-structured, narrative interviews. Thirty-one participants, both people with dementia and their unpaid carers, participated in the study. Data was analysed using thematic content analysis and a constant comparative method. Outcomes: The study identified both areas of satisfaction and unmet needs related to service provision. Findings indicated that diagnostic procedures could be improved by ensuring that early diagnosis is achieved through a comprehensive assessment package. Participants also highlighted the need for well coordinated post-diagnostic support; greater continuity of care concerning the personnel involved; and enhanced access to non-pharmacological interventions to support identity and social engagement. The study contributes to a better understanding of the service-related needs of people with dementia in relation to diagnostic procedures and post-diagnostic support.The session will highlight the role of allied health professions in community based dementia care. Specifically, the opportunity to contribute to the delivery of a comprehensive assessment supporting diagnosis and to the provision of person-centred interventions to support identity and social engagement will be detailed.